Towering judges and democratic erosion: Evidence from Mexico

In recent years the concept of towering judges has been developing in comparative constitutional law (Aberaytne & Porat eds., 2021). This paper explores the idea of towering judges in the context of Mexico’s Supreme Court Chief Justice: Arturo Zaldívar. Chief Justice Zaldivar’s towering figure will be analyzed from a political and institutional perspective. From a political perspective, Justice Arturo Zaldivar has deployed a progressive liberal/transformative/feminist discourse, while in practice, from an institutional perspective, has been a central collaborator (e.g. through his power of agenda setting) for the implementation of the federal government’s democratic erosion strategies. Against the backdrop of this analysis, the paper discusses in what ways Chief Justice Zaldivar’s “toweringness” has been positive or detrimental for constitutional democracy in Mexico.