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Courts in Latin America


  • 30 b/w illus. 27 tables
  • Page extent: 352 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.67 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 347.8/035
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: KG501 .C68 2011
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Constitutional courts--Latin America
    • Courts of last resort--Latin America
    • Judicial process--Latin America
    • Civil rights--Latin America
    • POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General--bisacsh

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107001091)

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$118.00 (C)

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 interbranch 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.


Introduction: courts in Latin America Gretchen Helmke and Julio Ríos-Figueroa; 1. Institutions for constitutional justice in Latin America Julio Ríos-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 Rodríguez-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 Sánchez, Beatriz Magloni and Eric Magar; 8. A theory of the politically independent judiciary: a comparative study of the United States and Argentina Rebecca Bill Chávez, 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 Aníbal Pérez-Liñán; 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.


Gretchen Helmke, Julio Ríos-Figueroa, Bruce M. Wilson, Juan Carlos Rodríguez-Raga, Lisa Hilbink, Javier Couso, Daniel M. Brinks, Diana Kapiszewski, Arianna Sánchez, Beatriz Magloni, Eric Magar, Bill Chávez, John A. Ferejohn, Barry R. Weingast, Druscilla Scribner, Andrea Castagnola, Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Jeffrey K. Staton

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