Supreme Court Articulation of the Politics/Administration Dichotomy
This chapter outlines the history and main tenets of neutral competence ideology. It discusses of the Court’s pre-Hatch Acts enforcement of neutral competence where it dealt with the role of money and political assessments in the maintenance of the spoils system. The chapter addresses the Hatch Acts adjudication. It examines the patronage cases that commenced in the 1970s. The Supreme Court jumped on the bandwagon of civil service reform quickly, and even before the Pendleton Act was adopted several justices were articulating the language of neutral competence in their decisions. The Court’s rationale in upholding these restrictions clearly appealed to the rhetoric of neutral competence, including the language of efficiency, the articulation of the evil effects of politics upon administration dichotomy, and the need to limit party influence in government. In sum, articulation of a politics/administration dichotomy was meant to preserve political direction by elected policymakers while enhancing government integrity and expertise.