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Courts and Political Parties: The Politics of Constitutional Review in Ecuador

Grijalva, Agustin (2010) Courts and Political Parties: The Politics of Constitutional Review in Ecuador. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The central argument of my dissertation is that political parties and timing influence constitutional judges' behavior in highly fragmented party systems under specific institutional conditions such as short term in office, the threat of impeachment, and the possibility of reappointment. Partisan influence on judges' decisions is selective, and it is dependent on institutional features. The carrots and sticks of appointment, reappointment, and impeachment may be useful tools for legislative coalitions to obtain judges' deferential behavior when terms of these judges are short and immediate reappointment is possible. However, politicians do not care about all cases of constitutional adjudication equally. Compared to the total number of constitutional review cases, only few decisions, generally about laws, attract politician's attention, are reported by the media as national issues, and mobilize pressure groups. In a fragmented party system, partisan influence is difficult to exercise given higher costs for the coalition to monitor and enforce judges' deferential behavior. Hence, a natural division emerges between politically important cases and standard cases without political pressure. Whereas some political variables help explain judicial votes on political cases, they have no influence on standard cases without political relevance. As a consequence, a constitutional judge may behave strategically on political cases and vote sincerely on standard cases.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPerez-Linan, Anibalanibal.perez.linan@gmail.comASP27
Committee MemberAmes, Barrybarrya@pitt.eduBARRYA
Committee MemberBonneau, Chris.
Committee MemberBarker, Robert
Date: 18 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 April 2010
Approval Date: 18 June 2010
Submission Date: 19 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: constitutional courts; Ecuador; judicial independence; judicial politics; judicial review; Latin America
Other ID:, etd-04192010-155029
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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