Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Courts and political parties: The politics of constitutional review in Ecuador
by Grijalva, Agustin, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2010, 180; 3417444
Abstract (Summary)

The central argument of my dissertation is that political parties and timing influence constitutional judges’ behavior in highly fragmented party systems under specific institutional conditions such as short terms in office, the threat of impeachment, and the possibility of reappointment. Partisan influence on judges’ decisions is selective, and it is dependent on institutional features. The carrots and sticks of appointment, reappointment, and impeachment may be useful tools for legislative coalitions to obtain judges’ deferential behavior when the terms of these judges are short and immediate reappointment is possible.

However, politicians do not care about all cases of constitutional adjudication equally. Compared to the total number of constitutional review cases, only few decisions, generally about laws, attract politicians’ attention, are reported by the media as national issues, and mobilize pressure groups. In a fragmented party system, partisan influence is difficult to exercise given higher costs for the coalition to monitor and enforce judges’ deferential behavior. Hence, a natural division emerges between politically important cases and standard cases without political pressure. Whereas some political variables help explain judicial votes on political cases, they have no influence on standard cases without political relevance. As a consequence, a constitutional judge may behave strategically on political cases and vote sincerely on standard cases.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perez-Linan, Anibal
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science
Keywords: Constitutional courts, Ecuador, Judicial independence, Judicial politics, Judicial review, Latin America
Publication Number: 3417444
ISBN: 978-1-124-14948-6
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