High courts in eleven U.S. states (and a number of countries) provide advisory opinions on pending legislation when requested by the executive or legislative branch of the government. To examine the implications of the advisory mechanism for institutional behavior and for policy outcomes, we develop and compare results form two incomplete-information models of judicial-legislative interaction. One game models judicial-legislative interaction with "ordinary" judicial review, the other models the interaction with an advisory option. We show how the advisory mechanism alters policy outcomes relative to outcomes that would be realized without the advisory option. We then identify the conditions under which legislatures request advisory opinions and when they choose to legislate without them. Finally, we consider whether the advisory mechanism is a welfare-enhancing or welfare-diminishing institution, and identify conditions that explain why some courts are willing to offer advisory opinions while others refuse to do so.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations