Focusing on the Supreme Court as an integral part of the policy-making process, Susan Lawrence examines how a change in who has access to the Court, and the nature of the institutions that structure that access, has affected its agenda setting and doctrinal development. In her analysis of cases sponsored by the Legal Services Program (LSP) before the Supreme Court during the 1966 through 1974 terms, she explores the effect of this agency in creating a voice for the poor in the judicial policy-making process. The Court's response to cases presented by the LSP--as exemplified in its decisions to invalidate residency requirements for welfare recipients (Shapiro v. Thompson, 1969) but uphold maximum family grants (Dandridge v. Williams, 1970)--is described as emerging from a timely combination of new litigant claims, available legal bases, and judicial values and role conceptions, all of which were shaped by the political climate of the era. Lawrence convincingly argues that litigation before the Court is a powerful method of political participation for the disadvantaged.
Originally published in 1990.
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