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I Want It All, and I Want It Now: The Political Manipulation of Argentina’s Provincial High Courts

Ich will alles und ich will es jetzt : die politische Manipulation von Argentiniens Provinzialgerichtshöfen
I Want It All, and I Want It Now: La manipulación política de las Cortes Supremas provinciales en Argentina
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Castagnola, Andrea

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Abstract Provincial supreme courts are important players in local politics because justices can affect the interest of the ruling governors; however, no research has addressed the factors that affect judicial turnover in provincial high courts in new democracies. This research attempts to fill this gap by using original data on the 525 departures of all provincial high court justices in Argentina from 1983 to 2009. My guiding hypothesis is that the stability of a justice on the bench depends on the political proximity of the justice to the ruling governor rather than on the executive’s institutional capacity to impeach. This study reveals that being aligned with the faction of the ruling governor is a major factor in accounting for judicial turnover not only in single-party provinces, as expected, but also in multi-party provinces. Because provincial politics have proven to be a major source of power for national politicians, governors would prefer to have a friendly court during their administration.

Las Cortes Supremas provinciales son importantes actores políticos en la política local porque los jueces pueden afectar los intereses de los gobernantes, no obstante no exite investigación que analice los factores que afectan la inestabilidad de las cortes provinciales en las nuevas democracias. Este trabajo tiene por objetivo llenar este vacio analizando las salidas de los 525 jueces de las Cortes Supremas provinciales en Argentina desde 1983 al 2009. La principal hipótesis propone que la estabilidad de los jueces en el cargo depende de la proximidad política del juez con el gobernador de turno mas que con la capacidad institucional del gobernador para relalizar juicio político. Este estudio revela que estar alineado con la facción del gobernador es una factor determinante para explicar la inestabilidad de los jueces en el cargo tanto en provincias con único partido como en provincias con competencia partidaria. La política provicial ha demostrado ser una fuente de poder político nacional para los gobernadores, por ende la manipulación de las cortes es una herramienta clave para los gobiernos.
Keywords Argentina; jurisdiction; manipulation; judiciary; Supreme Court; social actor; democracy; demographic transition; political change; region; historical development; structural change; jurisdiction; South America; developing country; Latin America
Classification Law; General History
Method descriptive study; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 39-62
Journal Journal of Politics in Latin America, 4 (2012) 2
ISSN 1868-4890
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works