Daniel M. Brinks

Global Fellow

Associate Research Professor, CMI; Professor and Department Chair, University of Texas at Austin


Daniel Brinks is Professor of Government and of Law and the Chair of the Government Department of the University of Texas at Austin, USA, being active in the fields of Comparative Politics and Public Law. He is a Senior Researcher & Global Scholar of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation – LawTransform, in Bergen, Norway. Brinks’s research has examined constitutional change; the political origins of weak institutions in Latin America; human rights and socio-economic inequality; the possibilities and limits of judicialization; the use of courts and law to enforce social and economic rights in the developing world; the development of the rule of law in Latin America; the judicial response to police violence in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay; judicial independence; and the role of informal norms in the legal order. Brinks was born and raised in Argentina and practiced law in the United States for nearly ten years before turning to academia.

His most recent book, published by Cambridge University Press, is The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance and Judicial Design (with Abby Blass). The book examines constitutional change in Latin America since about 1975, focusing especially on judicial institutions and constitutional review. He is also the author of The Judicial Response to Police Killings in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law. He co-edited two volumes: Courting Social Justice: The Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economic Rights in the Developing World with Varun Gauri; and Reflections on Uneven Democracies: The Legacy of Guillermo O’Donnell, with Scott Mainwaring and Marcelo Leiras. His research also appears in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies and the Texas Law Review, among other journals.

Recent publications

B. M. Wilson, A. Singh, D. Brinks. (2021). Special issue editors. Water and Sanitation as Human Rights: Have they strengthened Marginalized Peoples’ Claim for Access? 2073-4441.

The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance and
Judicial Design. 2018. Cambridge University Press (with Abby Blass).

“Access to What? Legal Agency and Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples in Latin
America.” Journal of Development Studies. DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1451632 (online
advance copy published March 27, 2018)

“Rethinking Judicial Empowerment: The New Foundations of Constitutional Justice.”
2017. International Journal of Constitutional Law, vol.15 (2): 296-331. Co-author,
Abby Blass (Awarded I.Con prize for best article published in the journal in 2017).

“Implementation of Social and Economic Rights: Argentina.” Forthcoming. Chapter
accepted for inclusion in D. Law, ed., Constitutionalism in Context. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. Co-author Julieta Rossi.

“Social Rights Constitutionalism in Latin America.” Forthcoming 2018. Chapter
accepted for inclusion in C.H. Mendes, R. Gargarella, eds., Oxford Handbook of
Constitutional Law in Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

“La justicia constitucional en América Latina: Nuevos modelos, viejos desafíos.”
2017. In C. Andrews, ed., Un Siglo de Constitucionalismo en América Latina
(1917-2017), Tomo I. Mexico: Editorial CIDE.

“Solving the problem of (non)compliance in social and economic rights litigation.”
2017. In Langford, M., C. Rodríguez-Garavito, and J. Rossi, eds., Making it Stick:
Social Rights Judgments and the Politics of Compliance. New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Also published in Spanish, as “Solucionar el problema del (in)cumplimiento en las
demandas judiciales sobre derechos económicos y sociales.” 2017. En Langford, M., C.
Rodríguez-Garavito, and J. Rossi, eds., La Lucha por los Derechos Sociales. Los
fallos judiciales y la disputa política por su cumplimiento. Bogotá: Dejusticia.


Elevating water rights to human rights: Has it strengthened marginalized peoples’ claim for water?

LawTransform: Effects of Rights & Law