Judicial Behavior under Austerity: An Empirical Analysis of Behavioral Changes in the Portuguese Constitutional Court, 2002-2016
Journal of Law and Courts, Forthcoming
30 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2017 Last revised: 9 Jun 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2017
The austerity policies pursued in several countries during the Eurozone crisis began to call attention to the role played by courts as relevant actors in the context of budgetary and financial policies. The case of the Portuguese Constitutional Court has often been singled out in national and international forums as one characterized by particularly intense activism in this respect. Allegedly, political conflict around austerity policies and the demand for their judicial review had fundamentally changed the role of the Portuguese Constitutional Court and the behavior of its judges. However, after examining these claims empirically, we find that, when properly assessed with scrutiny of comparable legislation in other periods, the judicial behavior of austerity policies exhibits much less exceptional patterns than often argued. Constitutional review in Portugal seems to respond to institutional arrangements and not to business cycles.
Keywords: Judicial Behavior, Constitutional Review, Austerity
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