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How Policy Shapes PoliticsRights, Courts, Litigation, and the Struggle Over Injury Compensation$
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Jeb Barnes and Thomas F. Burke

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756117.001.0001

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Congressional Hearings and the Politics of Adversarial and Bureaucratic Legalism

Congressional Hearings and the Politics of Adversarial and Bureaucratic Legalism

(p.28) 2 Congressional Hearings and the Politics of Adversarial and Bureaucratic Legalism
How Policy Shapes Politics

Jeb Barnes

Thomas F. Burke

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes data on political participation and testimony in congressional hearings on adversarial legal injury compensation policies as compared to bureaucratic legal policies. Overall, the hearings on adversarial legal policies feature more witnesses and a greater diversity of group types. This more varied lineup produces greater levels of conflict, as groups representing businesses, insurance companies, plaintiff and defense lawyers, victims, consumer groups, unions, the government, and experts all regularly participate. In hearings on bureaucratic legal injury compensation policies, by contrast, the hearings are dominated by federal officials, with regular input from groups representing beneficiaries, while businesses and consumer groups largely stay on the sidelines. The differences between the two sets of hearings resemble the distinction congressional scholars make between “fire alarm” and “police patrol oversight”.

Keywords:   congressional hearings, fire alarm oversight, police patrol oversight

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