Rubber stamp (politics)
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The term itself likely stems from the commonplace practice of subordinate employees or officials being deputized and given the authority to sign the name of their superior or employer. In situations where this superior official's signature may frequently be required for routine paperwork, a literal rubber stamp is used, with a likeness of their hand-written signature. In essence, the term is meant to convey an endorsement without careful thought or personal investment in the outcome, especially since it is usually expected as the stamper's duty to do so. In the situation where a dictator's legislature is a "rubber stamp", the orders they are meant to endorse are formalities they are expected to legitimize, and are usually done to create the superficial appearance of legislative and dictatorial harmony rather than because they have actual power. Historian Edward S. Ellis called this type of parliament a "toy parliament", in reference to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II's Turkish parliament, created in 1876 with the sole purpose of appeasing European powers.
Conversely, in a constitutional monarchy, the monarch is typically a "rubber stamp" to an elected parliament, even if he or she legally possesses considerable reserve powers and/or disagrees with the parliament's decisions.
- Webster's NewWorld Dictionary, Second College Edition, ISBN 0-671-41809-2 - page 1242 - "*rubber-stamp 2. [Colloq.] to approve or endorse in a routine manner, without thought - *rubber stamp - 2. [Colloq.] a) a person, bureau, legislature, etc., that approves or endorses something in a routine manner, without thought, b) any routine approval"