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Bolivia: The rise (and fall) of judicial review

Castagnola, A and Pérez-Liñán, A (2011) Bolivia: The rise (and fall) of judicial review. In: Courts in Latin America. UNSPECIFIED, 278 - 305. ISBN 9781107001091

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The Bolivian case illustrates the possibility of creating of an activist judiciary through institutional design, but it also illustrates the political limits of institutional experiments in the late twentieth century. The case is encouraging and humbling, an example of institutional transformation as well as one of historical persistence. In this chapter, we analyze the main institutions of the Bolivian judiciary from a historical perspective, emphasizing the decisive transformations of the last decade. Although constitutional rules gave the Bolivian Supreme Court a potential role as a mediator in political conflicts and as a protector of individual rights, during the twentieth century, the supreme court failed to develop an activist profile. It was not until 1998, with the creation of the Bolivian Constitutional Tribunal, that a more assertive judiciary emerged. A new range of legal instruments were developed and tested. This experiment, however, did not last. In a growing context of political polarization, the constitutional tribunal was dismantled between 2006 and 2009. In the first section of the chapter, we discuss the trajectory of the Bolivian Supreme Court, its constitutional powers, and its role in Bolivian affairs. An historical analysis of the court suggests that until 1995, Bolivia was evolving toward a decentralized model of judicial review, but justices had limited incentive to become activists or political arbiters. We document how the instability of judicial tenure became acute as a consequence of political turmoil between 1930 and 1982.


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Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Castagnola, A
Pérez-Liñán, A
Date: 1 January 2011
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Page Range: 278 - 305
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1017/cbo9780511976520.011
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9781107001091
Title of Book: Courts in Latin America
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2014 16:09
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 12:55


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