Institutional Design and External Independence: Assessing Judicial Appointments in Latin America

30 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2011

See all articles by Aníbal Pérez Liñán

Aníbal Pérez Liñán

University of Notre Dame

Andrea Castagnola

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

To what extent can formal constitutional rules provide a good measure of judicial independence? In this paper we make two claims. First, comparative measures of judicial independence that rely on formal constitutional designs require an explicit theory of institutional effects. Second, formal constitutional rules may have unexpected consequences for judicial independence (or they may have none). We illustrate this problem with the study of Supreme Court and Constitutional Tribunal appointments. A formal model of appointments is used to simulate the effects of different institutional designs. Based on these theoretical results, we propose a new measure of the capacity of executives and legislatures to control the composition of high courts. We estimate the measures of executive and legislative control for 18 Latin American countries between 1900 and 2010. Using this dataset, we test the consequences of formal constitutional designs on de facto judicial independence for the period 1981-2009.

Keywords: Judicial appointments, Supreme Courts, Constitutional Tribunals, Latin America

Suggested Citation

Pérez Liñán, Aníbal and Castagnola, Andrea, Institutional Design and External Independence: Assessing Judicial Appointments in Latin America (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901127

Aníbal Pérez Liñán (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame

Department of Political Science
2060 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Andrea Castagnola

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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