Ideational Origins of Progressive Judicial Activism: The Colombian Constitutional Court and the Right to Health
Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2010
43 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 11 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2009
Why are some newly empowered courts more likely than others to engage in progressive judicial activism? This paper addresses this question through an analysis of the origins and subsequent activism of the Colombian Constitutional Court towards rights in general, and the right to health in particular. My research suggests that ideational variables are the most effective in explaining this outcome. On the one hand, I argue that the Constitutional Court’s behavior reflects the dominance within it of a particular set of ideas about the judicial role. On the other, I provide evidence that programmatic beliefs about the relationship between rule of law and market-driven economic growth led power holders to create the Court and to appoint judges of this orientation. The emergence of progressive judicial activism in Colombia, my analysis suggests, was the unexpected outcome of purposeful political choices made by proponents of neoliberal economics.
NOTE: THIS PAPER HAS BEEN PUBLISHED Nunes, Rodrigo. 2010. "Ideational Origins of Progressive Judicial Activism: The Colombian Constitutional Court and the Right to Health." Latin American Politics and Society 52(3).
Keywords: Judicial review, Colombia, health litigation, ideas
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation