The judicial manipulation trap: A historical analysis of the political control of the supreme court of Argentina

Castagnola A. (2020)
Revista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política

Comparative judicial politics has provided invaluable evidence about how the political context of Argentina has systematically affected the independence of its Supreme Court. However, it is still not clear why the manipulation of the court has emerged and persisted over time. The central argument is that the incentives of politicians have impeded the emergence of a stable and independent judiciary. This article provides a systematic analysis of the various strategies that politicians have used to control the Supreme Court of the country by forcing unfriendly justices off the bench and appointing friendly ones. The political court-packing that started in the Supreme Court in 1947 is not the result of the instability of the political regime of the country but rather a common practice that follows a path dependence self-reinforcing process which has recently started to exhibit changes in its tactics and pace.

Andrea Castagnola is a Steering Committee Member and a Research Leader for the Courts, Transitional Justice & Judicial Behaviour Unit at LawTransform.

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