Disaggregating Diffuse Support of Constitutional Courts: The Case of Spain Open Access

Sklar, Elizabeth Sydney (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/rj4305028?locale=en


This thesis examines how and why diffuse support for the Spanish Constitutional Court varies. The study stems from Vanberg's work on the German Constitutional Court. It disaggregates Vanberg's concept of diffuse support into several dimensions: economic, political, sociological, psychological, and regional factors. Additionally, it applies Vanberg's work to the case of Spain. The study finds that breaking down diffuse support is important in understanding variations in support for the Constitutional Court. Citizens who perceive a better economic situation and citizens of a higher social class are more likely to support the Constitutional Court, while citizens from the Basque and Catalonian regions of Spain are less likely to support the Constitutional Court. This research begins to answer the question, "Why do some courts succeed and other fail?" The findings support the idea that the economic situation and regional make-up of a state matter. Additionally, this study supports Vanberg's suggestion that Constitutional Courts may not be as significant a countermajoritarian force as expected, as the Constitutional Court is most popular among already well-represented majorities.

Table of Contents

Vanberg 1

Public Opinion/Legitimacy 3

Courts as Institutions 6

Disaggregating Public Opinion 9

The Case of Spain 11

Data 18

The Dependent Variable 19

Hypothesis 22

Multivariate Analysis: A Single-Equation Model 24

Analysis 27

Implications and Conclusions 32

References 37

Appendix 40

List of Figures

Figure 1: Monitoring Relationships Among the Constitutional Court, the Legislature, and the Public 40

Figure 2: Confidence in the Constitutional Court Over Time 41

Figure 3: Confidence in the Constitutional Court, Parliament, and Monarchy Over Time 42

List of Tables

Table 1: Operationalizing the Dependent and Independent Variables 43

Table 2: A Single-Equation Model of Public Opinion of the Spanish Constitutional Court 44

Table 3: A Single-Equation Model of Public Opinion of the Spanish Constitutional Court, Regional Analysis 45

Table 4: A Single-Equation Model of Public Opinion of the Spanish Constitutional Court, 1998 to 2014 46

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