Personal or Political Patronage? Judicial Appointments and Justice Loyalty in the High Court of Australia
28 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 5, 2021
We examine whether Justices appointed to the High Court of Australia are more likely to find in favour of the federal government when the Prime Minister who appointed them is in office than when subsequent Prime Ministers are in office, over the period 1995 to 2019. We find evidence of a loyalty effect, even when subsequent Prime Ministers are of the same political party as the Prime Minister who appointed them. When we distinguish between Justices appointed by Labor and Liberal Prime Ministers, we find that the loyalty effect holds for Justices appointed by the Howard and Turnbull governments. These findings are important because they are central to the issues of judicial independence and the rule of law.
Keywords: High Court of Australia, empirical legal studies, judicial behaviour, Australian Politics, law and courts
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