The University of New Hampshire Law Review


[Excerpt] "This article will examine recent interactions and dialogues between the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC” or “Supreme Judicial Court”) and the Massachusetts State Legislature. The interactions between courts and legislatures are often cordial, but sometimes these interactions are also highly conflictual. During the 1980s and 1990s, the relationship between the Massachusetts legislature and the Supreme Court was indeed mainly cooperative. Recently, however, in several high profile cases the Supreme Court has been willing to challenge directly the decisions of the legislature and vice versa. Among other controversies, the Court’s 2002 decision requiring that the state legislature fund the campaign finance reform initiative known in Massachusetts as the Clean Elections law, and the Court’s 2003 decision that same-sex couples could not be denied marriage licenses under the state constitution, have created a great deal of friction between the Supreme Court and the legislature. This article will examine these controversies in some detail in order to gain a better understanding of the different institutional perspectives and different institutional wills that drive the relationship between these two institutions of government. My conclusion is that there needs to be greater communication between the legislative and judicial branches, and that each institution needs to have greater respect for the other body."

Repository Citation

Mark C. Miller, Conflicts between the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Legislature: Campaign Finance Reform and Same-Sex Marriage, 4 Pierce L. Rev. 279 (2006), available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol4/iss2/7