Dialogue or Symbiosis? An evolutionary approach to interbranch dynamics

Dialogue is an influential metaphor in constitutional theory. In this paper, we reassess the different ways in which scholarship has been advancing the dialogic approach either to describe the interactions between judicial institutions and other actors or to develop normative theories on the proper role of courts in deciding in a cooperative manner. We argue that, even though the dialogue model has important insights, some of the premises it draws from deliberative democratic theory makes the use of the metaphor rather inadequate to describe judicial institutions and their political landscape. We propose an alternative approach from an evolutionary paradigm, based on the metaphor of symbiosis, to address the institutional development of courts as a relational process of association with other political actors. In order to contrast our approach with the dialogue model, we use the example of the relationship between Brazilian political parties and the Federal Supreme Court.