The Politics of Domination: Law and Resistance in Authoritarian States
in THE STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL POWER: LAW, POLITICS, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN EGYPT, Cambridge University Press, 2007
38 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2010 Last revised: 31 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 30, 2010
A series of empirical examples suggest that entrenched authoritarian regimes are motivated to strengthen judicial institutions in order to: 1) attract investment, 2) strengthen bureaucratic discipline, 3) institutionalize pacts within ruling coalitions, 4) implement controversial reforms, and 5) bolster claims to procedural legitimacy in lieu of democratic openings. Judicial institutions help regimes to consolidate power in these specific ways, but they simultaneously open new avenues for activists to challenge the state. Not all regimes choose judicial strategies to institutionalize their rule, but to the extent that they do, they inadvertently create a unique field of contention within the authoritarian state. The result is a “judicialization of authoritarian politics,” bearing striking parallels to the judicialization of politics in democratic polities, as well as its own distinct dynamics.
Keywords: Judicialization, Judicial Politics, Authoritarian Regimes, Property Rights, Principal Agent Problem
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