I Want It All, and I Want It Now: The Political Manipulation of Argentina’s Provincial High Courts

Andrea Castagnola

Abstract


Provincial supreme courts are important players in local politics because justices can affect the interest of the ruling governors; however, no research has addressed the factors that affect judicial turnover in provincial high courts in new democracies. This research attempts to fill this gap by using original data on the 525 departures of all provincial high court justices in Argentina from 1983 to 2009. My guiding hypothesis is that the stability of a justice on the bench depends on the political proximity of the justice to the ruling governor rather than on the executive’s institutional capacity to impeach. This study reveals that being aligned with the faction of the ruling governor is a major factor in accounting for judicial turnover not only in single-party provinces, as expected, but also in multi-party provinces. Because provincial politics have proven to be a major source of power for national politicians, governors would prefer to have a friendly court during their administration.

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