Courts in Latin America

Courts in Latin America

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To what extent do courts in Latin America protect individual rights and limit governments? This volume answers these fundamental questions by bringing together today's leading scholars of judicial politics. Drawing on examples from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and Bolivia, the authors demonstrate that there is widespread variation in the performance of Latin America's constitutional courts. In accounting for this variation, the contributors push forward ongoing debates about what motivates judges; whether institutions, partisan politics and public support shape inter-branch relations; and the importance of judicial attitudes and legal culture. The authors deploy a range of methods, including qualitative case studies, paired country comparisons, statistical analysis and game theory.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 352 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 30 b/w illus. 27 tables
  • 1139036831
  • 9781139036832

Table of contents

Introduction: courts in Latin America Gretchen Helmke and Julio Rios-Figueroa; 1. Institutions for constitutional justice in Latin America Julio Rios-Figueroa; 2. Enforcing rights and exercising an accountability function: Costa Rica's Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court Bruce M. Wilson; 3. Strategic deference in the Colombian Constitutional Court, 1992-2006 Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Raga; 4. From quietism to incipient activism: the institutional and ideological roots of rights adjudication in Chile Lisa Hilbink and Javier Couso; 5. 'Faithful servants of the regime' - the Brazilian Constitutional Court's role under the 1988 Constitution Daniel M. Brinks; 6. Power broker, policymaker, or rights protector? The Brazilian Supremo Tribunal Federal in transition Diana Kapiszewski; 7. Legalist vs. interpretivist: the Supreme Court and the Democratic transition in Mexico Arianna Sanchez, Beatriz Magloni and Eric Magar; 8. A theory of the politically independent judiciary: a comparative study of the United States and Argentina Rebecca Bill Chavez, John A. Ferejohn and Barry R. Weingast; 9. Courts, power and rights in Argentina and Chile Druscilla Scribner; 10. Bolivia: the rise (and fall) of judicial review Andrea Castagnola and Anibal Perez-Linan; 11. The puzzle of judicial politics in Latin America: a theory of litigation, judicial decisions and inter-branch crises Gretchen Helmke and Jeffrey K. Staton.
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About Gretchen Helmke

Gretchen Helmke is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2000. She has received fellowships from the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies at Harvard University, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. She has published two books: Courts Under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina (2005) and Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (co-edited with Steven Levitsky, 2006). She has also published numerous articles in leading political science journals on comparative political institutions, the rule of law and Latin American politics. Julio Rios-Figueroa is Assistant Professor in the Division of Political Studies at CIDE in Mexico City. He received his Ph.D. from New York University (NYU) in 2006. He was a Hauser Research Scholar at the NYU School of Law during the academic year of 2006-7. He has published articles on the rule of law, Latin American politics and the emergence and performance of judicial institutions in journals such as Comparative Politics, the Journal of Latin American Studies, Comparative Political Studies and Latin American Politics and Society. He is currently working on a book project on the judicial construction of due process rights in Latin America.
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