Courts, Constraints, and Public Opinion in Europe Open Access
Cheruvu, Sivaram (Summer 2021)
Alexander Hamilton argues in Federalist 78 that courts “have neither force nor will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” In this dissertation, I ask two primary questions: what tools do courts have to counteract executives’ threats of noncompliance, and under what conditions can executives affect the efficacy of courts?
In chapter 1, I argue that public support is one such tool and investigate education as a source of public support for courts. To test my argument, I examine public support for the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) among East Germans after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I find an additional year of exposure to a more open school environment and the West German school curriculum after the fall of the Berlin Wall caused an increase in East Germans’ support for the FCC.
In chapter 2, I start from the premise that the judiciary is frequently reliant on executive and legislative bodies to implement its decisions. Scholars argue that public trust in the judiciary helps compel the other branches to comply. As noncompliance may erode public trust, courts are sensitive to government threats to not implement their decisions. Public trust, however, is also contingent on a court maintaining a consistent case law, which may require it making unpopular decisions that risk government noncompliance. How can courts manage this tension? I argue that when the legal merits favor a ruling against a government’s preferences and the threat of noncompliance is high a court will provide the government more flexibility in implementing its ruling. An analysis of Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions provides evidence supporting this account.
In chapter 3, I posit designing judicial institutions requires a trade off between insulating judges from external political pressure and keeping them democratically accountable. While scholars focus on variation in judicial retention mechanisms, I analyze how the internal procedures of courts balance this trade off. Civil law collegial courts mostly issue per curiam rulings in which judges’ votes are not public. I claim that judges on per curiam courts are responsive to their appointer’s preferences especially if they are subject to reappointment. I analyze decisions at the CJEU to support this account.
Table of Contents
1 How does Education affect Public Support for Courts? 1
2 How do Courts uphold the Law while facing Noncompliance? Evidence from the European Court of Justice 29
3 Does the Secret Ballot protect Judicial Independence? Evidence from the European Court of Justice 59
Appendix A How does Education affect Public Support for Courts 91
Appendix B How do Courts uphold the Law while facing Noncompliance? Evidence from the European Court of Justice 98
Appendix C Does the Secret Ballot protect Judicial Independence? Evidence from the European Court of Justice 100
About this Dissertation
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|Courts, Constraints, and Public Opinion in Europe ()||2021-07-07 15:29:07 -0400||