Fear and Loathing in the Judicial Process: Comparative Case Studies of Judicial Responses to Terrorism
28 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 12, 2014
Because terrorism is a phenomenon that can only be understood through the responses it evokes, the state's response to terrorism determines the effect that asymmetric political violence has. This paper argues that judicial responses to political violence, instead of being mediated through the law, are mediated through the psychological effects of fear, including desensitization. It considers the rhetoric used in two classes of cases: anti-terrorism cases heard by the Israeli Supreme Court, and habeas corpus jurisdiction cases involving Guantanamo Bay heard by the United States Supreme Court. It finds that both courts behave as expected. This study suggests that judges, too, are not immune to the Hobbesian desire for a Leviathan to protect them, and that the executive can use a Straussian insistence on blind acceptance of authority to drive judicial sanction of its actions, regardless of the legality.
Keywords: comparative politics, habeas corpus, United States Supreme Court, Israeli Supreme Court, Israel, Strauss, Hobbes, comparative judicial politics
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation