The Limits of Judicialization: From Progress to Backlash in Latin America

  • 7h 23m
  • Daniel M. Brinks, Ezequiel A. Gonzalez-Ocantos, Sandra Botero
  • Cambridge University Press
  • 2022

Latin America was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of what has come to be known as the judicialization of politics - the use of law and legal institutions as tools of social contestation to curb the abuse of power in government, resolve policy disputes, and enforce and expand civil, political, and socio-economic rights. Almost forty years into this experiment, The Limits of Judicialization brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars to assess the role that law and courts play in Latin American politics. Featuring studies of hot-button topics including abortion, state violence, judicial corruption, and corruption prosecutions, this volume argues that the institutional and cultural changes that empowered courts, what the editors call the 'judicialization superstructure,' often fall short of the promise of greater accountability and rights protection. Illustrative and expansive, this volume offers a truly interdisciplinary analysis of the limits of judicialized politics.

  • Brings together lawyers, political scientists, and sociologists to study the limits of political change via judicialization in Latin America
  • Offers detailed examinations of topics including reproductive rights, state violence, human rights accountability, corruption inside the courts, and corruption prosecutions
  • Draws on case studies of seven Latin American countries

About the Author

Sandra Botero, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia. Sandra Botero is Assistant Professor at Universidad del Rosario in Bogota. She specializes in studying the relationship between the judiciary and democracy, as well as electoral behavior, with a regional focus on Latin America.

Daniel M. Brinks, University of Texas, Austin. Daniel Brinks is Professor of Government and Law at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of multiple books, including The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America (2018, with Abby Blass), which was awarded APSA's C. Herman Pritchett Prize for Best Book on Law and Courts, and Understanding Institutional Weakness: Power and Design in Latin American Institutions (2020, with Steve Levitsky and Maria Victoria Murillo).

Ezequiel A. Gonzalez-Ocantos, University of Oxford. Ezequiel Gonzalez-Ocantos is Associate Professor of Political Science and Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America (2016) and The Politics of Transitional Justice in Latin America: Power Norms and Capacity Building (2020).

In this Book

  • Working in New Political Spaces—The Checkered History of Latin American Judicialization
  • Critical Disconnects—Progressive Jurisprudence and Tenacious Impunity in Mexico
  • When Winning in the Courts Is Not Enough—Abortion and the Limits of Legal Mobilization without Grassroots Involvement in Peru
  • Forms of Countermovement and Counter-Reform in Latin America—Judicial Backlash or Resources and Political and Legal Opportunities?
  • Backlash against State Strengthening Reforms—The Rise and Fall of the CICIG in Guatemala
  • Backlash against Corporate Accountability for Grave Human Rights Violations in Colombia
  • Courting Judicial Legitimacy—An Experimental Study of the Colombian Constitutional Court
  • Family Ties and Nepotism in the Mexican Federal Judiciary
  • Judicial Corruption—The Constitutional Court of Ecuador in Comparative Perspective
  • Kickbacks, Crackdown, and Backlash—Legal Accountability in the Lava Jato Investigation
  • Turning Corruption Trials into Political Tools in the Name of Transparency—The Lava Jato Case
  • Fighting Corruption, Dismantling Democracy—Antagonism, Communication, and the Political Use of Lava Jato in Brazil
  • Prosecutorial Agency, Backlash and Resistance in the Peruvian Chapter of Lava Jato