Ripper Legislation

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RIPPER LEGISLATION, the name given to acts of state legislatures, motivated by partisan considerations, whereby local (usually city) officials of one party are turned out of office and replaced with political opponents. For example, Pennsylvania's Democratic legislature in 1937 sought to abolish the Philadelphia civil service commission and municipal court, then in Republican control. These measures were later held unconstitutional by the state supreme court. Legislatures can forego frontal attacks on undesired employees by cutting an agency's budget drastically or imposing compulsory retirement ages, thereby forcing staff reductions and opening new slots for the majority party's minions.


Shefter, Martin. Political Parties and the State: The American Historical Experience. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Charles H.Backstrom/a. r.

See alsoCity Manager Plan ; Machine, Political ; Municipal Government ; Municipal Reform ; Political Parties .