Democratic legitimacy of Constitutional Judges in constitutional design: A comparative study

Constitutional Courts, as specific organs responsible for constitutional matters, are barely over a century old. A great variety of countries have implemented a specific Court following the Austrian model. Courts, and especially judges, are called to be guardians of the constitution; hence, the importance of the democratic legitimacy of the organ and the judges is to be observed. This research considers constitutional courts and judges regarding the state organization, constitutional design and selection process. Is also crucial to consider that judges are not elected, they are selected and appointed by different procedures in different countries. This paper aims at analyzing the Judges´ democratic legitimacy in each of the following cases: Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. The Analysis is centred in the constitutional design and considers the democratic chain between the people and the constitutional judge that cannot be popularly elected.

Abusive Constitutional Change: The Case of Presidential Term Limits in Latin America

It is often argued that presidents will tend to relax constitutional term limits when institutional and structural conditions allow so. However, most theories attempting to explain term limits relaxation evade the examination of political actors’ actual preferences and motivations. Drawing from the concept of political agency, this article maintains that term limits removal occurs as a consequence of presidential normative and substantive preferences. The more autocratic tendencies the president portrays, the more likely it is that constitutional term limits will be relaxed. Quantitative analysis of an original dataset confirms that the more radical the president is – i.e., intransigent and intolerant in achieving his political goals– the more likely it is that he will alter reelection rules in his benefit, controlling for alternative explanations.

Constitutional performance assessment: Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela in comparative perspective

A main function of a Constitution is to thrive Democratic system that underpins it. A broadly shared criterion for assessing constitutional performance is the degree of a Constitution has served to promote some relatively minimal concept of Democracy. This paper seeks to analyse how transformative constitutionalism has contributed to this by comparing three different constitutional settings: Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. I disentangle the aforementioned constitutions to assess their performance in terms of measuring the change of a minimum core: a set of institutions, procedures, and individual rights that are necessary to maintain a system of multiparty competitive democracy. Particularly I present a Schumpeterian approach that encompasses basic commitments to regular and free elections in which parties compete for access to democratic office, and citizens have the ultimate right to decide by casting vote, free of intimidation and harassment, on the basis of adult suffrage.

How transformative is the concept of transparency in the Latin American Constitutionalism?

The main purpose of the transformative constitutionalism is to design institutions around human rights. On the other hand, this new wave envisions to correct the serious democratic deficit that affects the region, proposing diverse formulas, destined to open greater opportunities and spaces of control facing a “society of distrust”. This paper seeks to analyze how transparency, as a principle of public management, is an integral part of this transformative constitutional process in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Starting from an analysis of the instruments related to transparency generated by the OAS, I will study the constitutional response to them based on the three purposes: Citizen control to combat corruption, realization of the rights of freedom of expression and access to information, and the strengthening of democracy. This analysis also seeks to determine the content of this principle based on the constitutional norms and mechanisms established to promote it.