Under the Sword of Damocles: The Supreme Court and Judicial Politics in Paraguay, 1992–2020
32 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 27, 2020
With a case study of the Paraguayan Supreme Court from the transition to democracy until today (1992-2020), I evaluate the endurance and change of informal institutions and their relationship with formal ones in court-elected branches relations. I show that the formal institutions that are considered as paramount for judicial independence – those that regulate the appointment, tenure, and removal of judges – are intertwined with the informal institution of judicial co-optation, which guarantees the subordination of judges to political interests (Basabe-Serrano 2015). These formal rules function as control mechanisms to ensure this subordination. With a historical institutionalist approach, I identify the key events and actors within this development. My analysis indicates that regime legacies partly explain the subordination of the court to political interest, but also stresses the role of agency. Further, I show that the independence of courts is especially challenged within early transition years.
Keywords: Supreme Court, elected branches, formal institutions, informal institutions, Historical Institutionalism, Paraguay, democratization
JEL Classification: Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation