Rent Extraction in the Institutional Arena – Bills as a Strategic Tool in the Discourse on the Independence of the Judiciary

In this paper, I will argue that in the dialogue between the Legislature and the Judiciary as to the status of the latter, bills constitute an attractive strategic tool for the Legislature. In fact, it is argued that the bills’ initiators do not necessarily intend their bills to mature into laws, as this is not always worthwhile to them, and they may use bills as a strategic “threat” to the judiciary in order for it to align as closely as possible with their position.
This argument – that a bill, in and by itself, has the power to motivate the judiciary to approach the bidders’ position – is based, among others, on the adoption, with the required changes, of a model developed by Fred S. McChesney called “Rent Extraction”. In accordance with this model, legislators initiate bills aimed at extorting benefits from the body or the group that may be harmed by this legislation, in exchange for removing the proposal from the agenda.