The relationship between Law and Political Science

Abstract :

The relation between law and politics is based on three basic aspects, such as a goal, a means or a obstacle. Politics can define primarily egal values or institution as its goal. Law can be merely comprehended by politics as a means for certain political interest. Law can be interpreted by politics as an obstacle for certain political goals. Law is recognised as the basic concept of political theory. Since law is inextricable part of the state study of law assumes extraordinary significant in view of the fact that state is understood as legal association.  The stat3ehas important place in the study of political system. The studies of political science and law has been studied separately for many years, it is recently that the two fields have become more and more integrated, Law is the set of norms, as adjudicated by a court system, that is enforced by a sovereign state on those within its jurisdiction, or (public international law) generally accepted by such states as binding in their relations with other states. Political science is not the study of law as such, although constitutional law could be explained as the intersection of the two disciplines. It is concerned with the operation of political institution as the exercise of political power.


Law and politics are deeply interwind. Law is an essential part of government action, a system on which government administration is based on, it is rules created and enforced though social or governmental institution to regulate the behaviour of a country. State enforced laws are made by legislatures. Legal system varies from country to country, with analysed difference in their comparative law. It is therefore an important part of the political struggle and shapes itself as politics is conducted.  The early American jurist James Wilson observed that law is the “great sinew of government”. In public law, politics is not a product of politics but also constitutive of politics.

The study of politics is a varied and multidisciplinary enterprise. Political science is a social science that deals with the government system and political activities, political thoughts and political behaviour are analysed by it. Political science deals widely with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of distribution of power and resources. Political scientists are busy in revealing the relation underlying political events and conditions, and from this attempt to built general principles about the way the world of politics works. Political science influences and informs public opinion that can shape the law.

History  :

The study of law was always part of the quest to understand politics. Until 19th century political science was not emerge as discipline. In the early period scholars were more focused on formal political structures. It was in 20th century that public law came into recognition. Political scientists adopted legal realism with great enthusiasm and applied it to their work. As in early days scholars were focused on interpretation of law, public law scholars were more into applying legal practically consider how judges’ personal preferences sometimes shaped their decisions, also considered the roles of judges in public policies. The nature of these studies was empirical and descriptive and often took form of taxonomic. In mid-20th century, Political science as a discipline participated in the behavioural revolution. The Roosevelt Court: A Study in Judicial Politics and Values by C. Herman Pritchett at the University of Chicago, is the best example of the behavioural revolution within then study of Public law. In this work of his Pritchett offered a theory of judicial decision making that included the justices, ideology, backgrounds and attitudes as important components and explored how these factors influenced the justice behaviour via an analysis of voting blocs. His focus on the justices’ personal attributes stood in sharp contrast to the approach of previous Public Law scholars. He focused on the discovery and application of law. Glendon Schubert’s methodologically pathbreaking work was preceded by Pritchett’s contribution. The study of law and politics held a prominent place within the discipline of political science as academic discipline and departments developed in the late nineteenth century. Political science is obviously useful to law, in the sense of promoting understanding of legal process.

Present situation of political science and law:

Public law factors prominently within political science. Nearly every college and university in the country employs a Public Law scholar in its political science department to teach doctrinal courses and serve as a pre-law advisor. They were also often isolated from mainstream contemporary political science, including the discipline’s development of rational choice theory, improvements in research design and statistical methods. The field has major developments in the last 20 years, by becoming more vibrant and cutting-edge area of the study. While changes in the Public Law field have altered the nature of the scholarship and its relationship with the study of law in law schools, a disconnect remains.  The differences have helped maintain the division between the disciplines. 

The division between two approaches is unnecessary as they complement each other.  Political science approaches can help the legal academy rigorously test the assumptions and implications of important normative debates. This is one area in which law can contribute much to political science: law can help to guide the precise questions being asked to ensure that the resultant answers are substantively important. Political science is a rigorous discipline that can benefit both legal scholars and lawyers

Political law: 

Political law is an established legal practice area encompassing the intersection of politics and law. This law comprises of various laws such as election law, voting law, campaign law, constitutional law legislative law administrative law and regulatory drafting. 

Federal level; the federal election commission enforces campaign finance law with respect to races for the united US house of representative, US senate and the office of president.

Integration of law and political science :

The separation between the study of law and political science improvises both disciplines by creating a false dichotomy between explanation of legal phenomena. The two field are as a compliment for each other rather than a challenge. This false dichotomy has prevented law students from being educated in a number of areas that would make them better lawyers. The knowledge regarding the theory and practice of law is provided by legal training and legal practice.

Today, knowledge and the tools that political scientist use to answer question allow for a better understanding of legal system work. Law schools should bring these insights and approaches into their curricula. This integration should not be in the form of a “Political Science for Lawyers” type of course, but in a comprehensive fashion. Just as Law and Economics has informed our understanding of a number of areas of law across the curriculum, the study of political science has much to offer.