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Judicial Independence and Party Politics in the Kelsenian Constitutional Courts: The Case of Portugal

Authors

  • Sofia Amaral-Garcia,

    1. Università di Bologna
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  • Nuno Garoupa,

    1. UIUC College of Law, IMDEA (Madrid) and CEPR (London)
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  • Veronica Grembi

    Corresponding author
    1. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan)
      *Nuno Garoupa, UIUC College of Law, 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Champaign, IL 61820; email: ngaroupa@law.uiuc.edu. Amaral-Garcia is an EDLE Candidate, Università di Bologna; Garoupa is at the UIUC College of Law, IMDEA (Madrid) and CEPR (London); Grembi is at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan).
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  • We are grateful to one anonymous referee, the editor, Ted Eisenberg, and to Tom Ginsburg, José Maria Labeaga, Pedro Magalhães, António Morgado, Pedro Pita Barros, Stefan Voigt, and the participants at ISNIE 2007 and SIDE 2007 meetings and seminars in Vigo and Central European University for useful comments and suggestions. Sofia Amaral-Garcia acknowledges financial support by FCT, POCTI/ECO/44146/2002, and Nuno Garoupa acknowledges financial support by FCT, PPCDT/JUR/55752/2006. We are also grateful to Yeny C. Estrada for reviewing the article. The usual disclaimers apply.

*Nuno Garoupa, UIUC College of Law, 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Champaign, IL 61820; email: ngaroupa@law.uiuc.edu. Amaral-Garcia is an EDLE Candidate, Università di Bologna; Garoupa is at the UIUC College of Law, IMDEA (Madrid) and CEPR (London); Grembi is at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan).

Abstract

In this article we test to what extent Kelsenian-type constitutional judges are independent from political parties by studying the Portuguese constitutional court. The results yield three main conclusions. First, constitutional judges in Portugal are quite sensitive to their political affiliations and their political party's presence in government when voting. Second, peer pressure is very relevant. Third, the 1997 reform enacted to increase judicial independence has had no robust statistically significant effect.

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