The Judicialization Of Politics In Latin America

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During the last two decades the judiciary has come to play an increasingly important political role in Latin America. Constitutional courts and supreme courts are more active in counterbalancing executive and legislative power than ever before. At the same time, the lack of effective citizenship rights has prompted ordinary people to press their claims and secure their rights through the courts. This collection of essays analyzes the diverse manifestations of the judicialization of politics in contemporary Latin America, assessing their positive and negative consequences for state-society relations, the rule of law, and democratic governance in the region. With individual chapters exploring Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, it advances a comparative framework for thinking about the nature of the judicialization of politics within contemporary Latin American democracies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This exceptional volume does a splendid job of illuminating the myriad dimensions of the judicialization of politics in Latin America. No phenomenon is more central to understanding recent trends in democratic governance throughout the region. The first-rate authors treat the subject from diverse perspectives, with impressive conceptual sophistication, rigor, and sensitivity to national variations. The result is a thoroughly original and stimulating contribution that fills an important gap in the literature and that will doubtless be of keen interest to academics, policy makers and advocates alike."--Michael Shifter, Vice President for Policy, Inter-American Dialogue

"This book eloquently maps the judicialization of politics in contemporary Latin America and its consequences. It weaves politics, law and society together into a rich and sophisticated analysis of the inter-relationship between judicialization and Latin American democracy in the 1990s and 2000s. Its comparative framework makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how judicialization enables and constrains democratization and the search for justice. This is an impressive and original work that fills an important gap in the literature."--David Sugarman, Professor at Law School, Lancaster University, England

"This book is essential reading to understand the important new trend of judicial activism in Latin America. Does it strengthen democracy by enhancing individual rights, the rule of law, the propriety of the exercise of power, and electoral fairness? Or as part of a 'judicialization of politics', is it the expression of an unwarranted instrumentalization of the judiciary by powerful actors as well as an extension of judicial authority over domains best left to political negotiations in governmental and legislative arenas? Does it, then, undermine rather than contribute to deepening the quality of democracy? In a set of highly nuanced analysis the authors provide evidence for all these assessments."--J. Samuel Valenzuela, Kellogg Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230619692
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Series: Studies of the Americas Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Sieder is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, School of Advanced Studies, University of London. Sieder has published articles in numerous journals, including Democratization, The Bulletin of Latin American Research, and Citizenship Studies. Her most recent volume (ed.) is Multiculturalism in Latin America: Indigenous Rights, Diversity and Democracy (2002). She is editor of the Journal of Latin American Studies.

Line Schjolden is currently Assistant Professor of Latin American History and Culture at the University of Bergen, Norway. She was previously Hewlett Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Latin American Law and Politics at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London and the Latin American Centre, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She holds a PhD in History from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research is in the field of legal and labor history in early twentieth century Argentina.

Alan Angell was Director of the Latin American Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford, Lecturer in Latin American Politics, and a Fellow of St Antony's College. He has published Politics and the Labour Movement in Chile (1972); En Busca de la Utopia: La Politica Chilena entre Alessandri y Pinochet (1994); and edited with Dr. Benny Pollack, The Legacy of Dictatorship: Political, Economic and Social Change in Pinochet's Chile (1993). His most recent research was conducted jointly with Rosemary Thorp and Pamela Lowden and published as Decentralising Development: the Political Economy of Institutional Change in Colombia and Chile (OUP 2001).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Judicialisation of Politics in Latin America--Rachel Sieder, Line Schjolden & Alan Angell
• Judicialisation of Politics: The Changing Political Role of the Judiciary in Mexico--Pilar Domingo
• Changing Dynamics:The Political Impact of Costa Rica's Constitutional Court--Bruce M. Wilson
• The Judicialisation of Politics in Colombia: The Old and the New--Manuel José Cepeda Espinosa
• The Judicialisation of Chilean Politics: The Rights Revolution That Never Was--Javier A. Couso
Judicialisation and Regime Transformation: The Venezuelan Supreme Court--Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo
• Petitioning and Creating Rights: Judicialisation in Argentina--Catalina Smulovitz
• Community Justice Institutions and Judicialisation: Lessons from Rural Peru--Julio Faundez
• Private Conflicts, Public Powers: Domestic Violence in the Courts in Latin America--Fiona Macaulay
• Constitutionalism, the expansion of Justice and the Judicialisation of Politics in Brazil--Rogério B. Arantes
• The Transnational Dimension of the Judicialisation of Politics in Latin America--Kathryn Sikkink
• Afterword--Guillermo O'Donnell

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