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Political Influence and Career Judges: An Empirical Analysis of Administrative Review by the Spanish Supreme Court


  • Nuno Garoupa,

  • Marian Gili,

  • Fernando Gómez-Pomar

  • We are grateful to three anonymous referees, CELS 2011, SIDE 2011, and IPSA 2012 participants, and Yun-chien Chang, Giovanni Mastrobuoni, and Benjamin Engst for important suggestions, as well as to seminar participants at the Universidad de Granada, Universidade do Minho, and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Excellent research assistantship was provided by Roya H. Samarghandi. Nuno Garoupa acknowledges financial support by FCT, Portuguese Ministry of Higher Education and Science, under Grant PPCDT/JUR/55752/2006. Fernando Gómez acknowledges the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, under Grants SEJ2006-10041 and DER2010-15624. The usual disclaimers apply.

Address correspondence to Nuno Garoupa, H. Ross and Helen Workman Research Scholar and Co-Director, Illinois Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science at the University of Illinois College of Law, 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Champaign, IL 61820.


This article develops an empirical analysis of judicial behavior in the Spanish Supreme Court, a court of law dominated by career judiciary. We focus on administrative review. The evidence seems to confirm that a career judiciary is not strongly politically aligned and favors consensus, formalism, and dissent avoidance. Notwithstanding, we detect a significant relationship between the decisions of the Court and the interest of the government. We suggest that our empirical analysis makes a significant contribution to undermine the myth of political insulation by career judges. Unlike previous literature, however, we argue and illustrate that judicial politicization can be consistent with consensus and dissent avoidance.