In a famous passage in The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton wrote of the federal judiciary that it would have
no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.
If someone wrote these words today, he would be dismissed out of hand as totally ignorant of the practice of modern judges. Federal courts issue complex decrees that sometimes involve them in continuous oversight of government institutions such as schools and prisons. In connection with this task, they have ordered governments to impose taxes. They routinely use injunctions to enforce constitutional rulings and invoke their power to punish contempt of court in levying fines against recalcitrant officials.