Patronage and Nepotism in the Mexican Federal Judiciary, 1917-2017

This paper analyzes patronage networks within the Mexican Federal Judiciary in the last one hundred years. The paper first uncovers and characterizes the patronage networks created from 1917 to 1994, when the Supreme Court hand-picked lower court judges. In 1995 a Judicial Council was created to select judges based on merit. The paper thus moves to gauge whether the patronage networks have had any persistent effects. Specifically, the paper evaluates whether hand-picked judges (pre-1995) engage in more nepotistic practices (i.e. employ more family members) than merit-selected judges (post-1995). Based on a rich and original database collected from different sources, the paper analyzes the judiciary as an organization, bringing a new light on the organizational pre-conditions required for the judiciary to become an effective institution for the administration and production of public law.

Judicial Independence, Judicial Discipline & the Administrative State

This paper explores the impact of constitutional rules and principles on the design of the administrative state. Drawing on theories of structural constitutionalism and comparative public law, this paper considers the intersection of constitutional and administrative law in a particular context, that of judicial discipline and removal. It asks whether certain institutions, such as judicial oversight and disciplinary bodies, must exist within a constitutional order that takes judicial independence seriously. It contends that the answer to this question is yes and goes on to study the necessary features of such institutions and the consequences of their absence. In its theorization of the relationship between a constitution and the administrative state using the particular case of judicial independence and discipline, this paper advances understandings of constitutional architecture and of the necessary mechanisms for ensuring judicial integrity in times of complexity and change.

The relationship between constitutional amendment procedure, judicial review and judge’s appointments. The United States and Chile case

The main idea of this research is to contrast the constitutional amendment procedure, the judicial review and judge´s appointments. Considering the United States and Chile cases, this investigation will analyze if a rigid constitutional amendment procedure produces a more activist judicial review. The comparison between the United States and Chilean Constitutions reinforces the theory made by professor Elikins, Ginsburg and Melton, in order that the flexibility in a constitutional allows high durability of a Constitution.
The Chilean Constitution is flexible enough and there is no need for a new constitution because the political actors have been using the amendment procedure many times. The Judicial Review in Chile is not so relevant. In the case of the United States, the US constitution looks inflexible but is a flexible document because it allows the States to enact their own constitutions. In addition, the statistics don´t show a strong judicial review.

What is the optimal model for the internal structure of the judicial council?

The author considers the advantages and drawbacks of judicial councils in contemporary states, especially of their internal structure. Despite significant criticism expressed by certain legal scholars in academia, the author is of the opinion that the council can be perceived as an important factor in securing, on the one hand, the judicial independence, and the accountability, on the other. The author argues that a mixed composition may be an advantage for this type of body as the council becomes a platform for the dialogue with representatives of political powers, different legal jobs as well as lay members. Simultaneously, the author expresses the conviction that it does not mean that the most desirable model for the council is one in which representatives of the legislative or the executive would have the same number of members as judges. This might create a wrong impression that greater involvement by such members strengthens the legitimacy of the judiciary.

Judicial Independence as a Middle Class Phenomenon: Comparing Pakistan, Indonesia and Colombia

This article is aimed at resolving the puzzling phenomenon of independent judiciaries in the context of unstable democracies. An increasing engagement between middle-class groups, represented by NGOs and other civil society organizations, and the higher judiciary is visible in three unstable democracies: Pakistan, Indonesia, and Colombia. The existing studies do not explain judicial independence as a middle-class phenomenon. By comparing the higher constitutional judiciaries of Pakistan(2009 to 2017), Indonesia(2003 to 2017) and Colombia (1990 to 2017) as most different and least similar cases, this article argues that independent judiciaries in the context of weak democracies is a middle-class phenomenon because one similar driver-the middle class-is giving rise to independent judiciaries in different historical and political contexts. This work finds that middle-class groups are important for the establishment and maintenance of an independent judiciary.