In This Issue
From Notes from the Editors:
This issue contains several articles that should be of great contemporary interest to the readers of the Review. We believe that the articles that appear in this issue speak to a number of timely and enduring questions in political science, as well as opening exciting new lines of research. These include such questions as: What is the relationship between electronic communication and political protest and violence? What was the real meaning of "Marbury v. Madison"? What impact does the presence of openly gay legislators have on the views and voting behavior of their straight counterparts? How do individuals form opinions on public issues when they have limited substantive knowledge or direct experience? How are patterns of social and ethnic identification shaped by conflict? And, of course, the continuing debate over the importance of "genopolitics" in American political behavior.
IN THIS ISSUE
In "Technology and Collective Action: The Effect of Cell Phone Coverage on Political Violence in Africa," Jan Pierskalla and Florian Hollenbach address the impact that the spread of cell phone technology has had on violent collective action in Africa. In a very timely argument, they contend that the increased availability of cell phones on the continent has allowed political groups to overcome collective action problems more easily and to improve in-group cooperation and coordination. Combining spatially disaggregated data on cell phone coverage and on the location of organized violent events in Africa with careful empirical analysis, they convincingly demonstrate that the availability of cell phone coverage significantly and substantially increases the probability of violent conflict. This article should prompt considerable interest in the effects of electronic communication on political mobilization more broadly.
In "Capitol Mobility: Madisonian Representation and the Location and Relocation of Capitals in the United States," Eric Engstrom, Jessie Hammond, and John Scott examine an important but seemingly underappreciated component of American political development and institutional design-the geographic placement of capital cities. They argue that decisions to locate capitals in the United States have been made in accordance with the theory of representative government that originated in this country, especially as articulated by James Madison. Using historical census and political boundaries data, the authors convincingly demonstrate that the original placement and subsequent relocation of state capital cities, as well as the placement of Washington, DC, follow a consistent pattern of being at or near the population center of the relevant jurisdiction, thereby maximizing citizens' access to their seat of government.
In "Cold Case File: Indictable Acts and Officer Accountability in Marbury v. Madison," Karen Orren and Chris Walker do some sleuthing to uncover a long-lost secret of this most familiar of all Supreme Court cases. The failure of James Madison, and by extension his boss Thomas Jefferson, to deliver Marbury's commission was potentially a criminal act. Therefore, one of the delicate matters that Justice John Marshall was confronted with in this case was the possibility of triggering prosecutions of members of the Jefferson administration and a government crisis of the first magnitude in the young republic. Marshall's clever side-stepping of this outcome is remembered today only for launching judicial review; however, Orren and Walker argue that it also had the fateful consequence of inaugurating the tradition in American constitutional law of virtual immunity from prosecution of public officials. Digging deeply into English and colonial American legal history, they argue that this immunity was by no means required by the precedents Marshall had before him.
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Incoming Editors - July 2012
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