The Courts’ Inherent Power To Compel Legislative Funding of Judicial Functions

Litigation results when the legislative branch contests the inherent power order. Because judicial compulsion of legislative action must derive from constitutional authority, and because of the practical and doctrinal challenges such litigation presents, many courts have struggled to resolve these cases in a principled fashion. This Note defends the inherent power doctrine, but argues that current judicial approaches to its application have failed to confront squarely the central issues raised by inherent power orders. The Note advocates an alternative procedure for defining the legitimate scope of judicial authority to compel appropriations on its own behalf. Part I examines the constitutional basis of the doctrine, and concludes that although constitutional considerations justify the inherent power doctrine, they also require that the courts closely link the assertion of the doctrine to the constitutional imperatives that justify it. Part II examines the court’s current approach to the review of inherent power orders, and argues that current procedures bear no rational relation to confining inherent power within its legitimate boundaries. Part III, therefore, proposes an alternative procedure to address directly, and overcome to the extent possible, the constitutional, political, and practical problems created by assertions of judicial power to compel appropriations.