Recently, courts have held that Congress's impeachment procedures and the President's authority over foreign affairs, particularly the President's powers to abrogate treaties and commit troops, are political questions.
The doctrine has its roots in the federal judiciary's desire to avoid inserting itself into conflicts between branches of the federal government. It is justified by the notion that there exist some questions best resolved through the political process, voters approving or correcting the challenged action by voting for or against those involved in the decision. Justice Felix Frankfurter was an active and eloquent exponent of maintaining and expanding the political question doctrine. Critics of the doctrine argue that it has little or no basis in the text of the Constitution and is used by courts to shirk responsibility for deciding difficult questions.
Important cases discussing the political question doctrine:
A dispute that requires knowledge of a non-legal character or the use of techniques not suitable for a court or explicitly assigned by the Constitution to Congress or the president; judges refuse to answer constitutional questions that they declare are political.
Constitutional Law - Political Question Doctrine - D.C. Circuit Holds That Government Officials' Potentially Defamatory Allegations regarding Plaintiffs' Terrorist Ties Are Protected by Political Question Doctrine
Dec 01, 2010; The political question doctrine, "essentially a function of the separation of powers," (1) exists to prevent courts from making...
Closing the Door on Positive Rights: State Court Use of the Political Question Doctrine to Deny Access to Educational Adequacy Claims
Jul 01, 2009; The United States system of funding schools with local property tax dollars leads to qualitative disparities across school...
Federal Courts - Political Question Doctrine - D.C. Circuit Holds Claims of Harms to Native Inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory Caused by the Construction of a U.S. Military Base Nonjusticiable
Jan 01, 2007; FEDERAL COURTS -- POLITICAL QUESTION DOCTRINE -- D.C. CIRCUIT HOLDS CLAIMS OF HARMS TO NATIVE INHABITANTS OF THE BRITISH INDIAN...