Strategy of reform : courts, politics, and policy reform in Texas
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When, how, and why do policy makers and reformers use courts and legal procedures to achieve their policy ends? This project explores the relationship of courts to the process of policy reform in Texas. I predict that reformers within this context utilize judicial and quasi-judicial strategies in different ways than the current literature suggests, that is that courts and legislatures are used interdependently to advance a policy goal. This line of inquiry enhances our understanding of the relationship of courts to policy reform as it contemplates reformers utilizing court based reform strategies in ways other than a court ruling in their favor and producing the desired policy end. This study also contemplates courts in the policy making arena as more than just one static institution; rather, court based strategies can and do encompass other quasi-judicial institutions available to reformers to advance their policy objectives. Through an in-depth case study analysis of reform in the areas of the scope of practice battle between engineers and architects, transportation infrastructure funding, and voter ID, I find that reformers, constrained by the overall opportunity structures available, choose a set of strategies that utilize multiple venues in ways that strengthen each other, so that their strategies are not just alternative or sequential but interdependent.