Judging Under Political Pressure: An Empirical Analysis of Constitutional Review Voting in the Spanish Constitutional Court

Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2013

Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS11-22

37 Pages Posted: 10 May 2011

See all articles by Nuno Garoupa

Nuno Garoupa

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Fernando Gomez-Pomar

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Veronica Grembi

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (DEMM)

Date Written: May 6, 2011

Abstract

In this paper we study the extent to which decisions by the Spanish Constitutional Court are explained by political variables. Our theory proposes that party alignment should play an important role in explaining the behavior of the Spanish constitutional judges, but with some limitations given the institutional constraints faced by the court. Therefore, we do not propose pure party alignment but a more sophisticated strategy approach based on the interaction between the advancement of ideological goals with the limitations imposed essentially by the civil law tradition of consensual courts. Using a unique dataset of abstract review cases in 1980-2006, we conclude that the patterns of political influence in the Spanish Constitutional Court are complex and cannot be easily framed merely as the pure reflection of the attitudinal model, and of left/right alignment.

Keywords: Constitutional Court, Spain, Judicial Independence, Party Politics, Ideology

Suggested Citation

Garoupa, Nuno and Gomez-Pomar, Fernando and Grembi, Veronica, Judging Under Political Pressure: An Empirical Analysis of Constitutional Review Voting in the Spanish Constitutional Court (May 6, 2011). Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2013; Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS11-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1833737

Nuno Garoupa (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Fernando Gomez-Pomar

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
08005 Barcelona
Spain
(34-93) 542 16 47 (Phone)
(34-93) 542 17 31 (Fax)

Veronica Grembi

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (DEMM) ( email )

Via Conservatorio, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

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