Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes

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Scholars have generally assumed that courts in authoritarian states are pawns of their regimes, upholding the interests of governing elites and frustrating the efforts of their opponents. As a result, nearly all studies in comparative judicial politics have focused on democratic and democratizing countries. This volume brings together leading scholars in comparative judicial politics to consider the causes and consequences of judicial empowerment in authoritarian states. It demonstrates the wide range of governance tasks that courts perform, as well as the way in which courts can serve as critical sites of contention both among the ruling elite and between regimes and their citizens. Drawing on empirical and theoretical insights from every major region of the world, this volume advances our understanding of judicial politics in authoritarian regimes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...succinct but authoritative...This convincing assessment is therefore an incredibly important contribution to the literature in a rather neglected subject."
—ASIL UN21 Interest Group Newsletter [ISSUE #39: May 2009]

"...students of law and society, comparative politics, and regime transition will value the book for both its breadth and detail."
CHOICE, J.D. Marshall, Carthage College

"Every chapter of this book makes an analytically sophisticated argument about authoritarianism and law. Since more than half of all states can be characterized as authoritarian or semiauthoritarian, this volume provides frames of analysis and empirical examples that can stimulate and guide future research, and move the study of judicial politics in exciting new directions.
Perspectives on Politics, Lisa Hajjar, University of California- Santa Barbara

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521720410
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Ginsburg is Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Judicial Review in New Democracies (Cambridge University Press, 2003), which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association for best book on law and courts in 2004. Ginsburg serves as co-director of the Comparative Constitutions Project at the University of Illinois and runs the Program in Asian Law, Politics and Society.

Tamir Moustafa is Associate Professor of International Studies and the Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Cultural Change at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics and Economic Development in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and a number of articles on comparative law and society, religion and politics, and state-society relations in the Middle East.

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Table of Contents

Contributors ix

Introduction: The Functions of Courts in Authoritarian Politics Tamir Moustafa Tom Ginsburg 1

1 Of Judges and Generals: Security Courts under Authoritarian Regimes in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile Anthony W. Pereira 23

2 Administrative Law and the Judicial Control of Agents in Authoritarian Regimes Tom Ginsburg 58

3 Singapore: The Exception That Proves Rules Matter Gordon Silverstein 73

4 Agents of Anti-Politics: Courts in Pinochet's Chile Lisa Hilbink 102

5 Law and Resistance in Authoritarian States: The Judicialization of Politics in Egypt Tamir Moustafa 132

6 Courts Out of Context: Authoritarian Sources of Judicial Failure in Chile (1973-1990) and Argentina (1976-1983) Robert Barros 156

7 Enforcing the Autocratic Political Order and the Role of Courts: The Case of Mexico Beatriz Magaloni 180

8 The Institutional Diffusion of Courts in China: Evidence from Survey Data Pierre Landry 207

9 Building Judicial Independence in Semi-Democracies: Uganda and Zimbabwe Jennifer Widner Daniel Scher 235

10 Judicial Power in Authoritarian States: The Russian Experience Peter H. Solomon, Jr. 261

11 Courts in Semi-Democratic/Authoritarian Regimes: The Judicialization of Turkish (and Iranian) Politics Hootan Shambayati 283

12 Judicial Systems and Economic Development Hilton L. Root Karen May 304

13 Courts in Authoritarian Regimes Martin Shapiro 326

References 337

Index 363

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