Research Handbook on Transparency
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Research Handbook on Transparency

Edited by Padideh Ala’i and Robert G. Vaughn

In the last two decades transparency has become a ubiquitous and stubbornly ambiguous term. Typically understood to promote rule of law, democratic participation, anti-corruption initiatives, human rights, and economic efficiency, transparency can also legitimate bureaucratic power, advance undemocratic forms of governance, and aid in global centralization of power. This path-breaking volume, comprising original contributions on a range of countries and environments, exposes the many faces of transparency by allowing readers to see the uncertainties, inconsistencies and surprises contained within the current conceptions and applications of the term.
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Chapter 4: The associations of judicial transparency with administrative transparency

Robert G. Vaughn


This chapter asserts that the justifications for administrative transparency apply equally well to judicial transparency. This assertion requires the reader to believe that the reasons for reliance on transparency to control administrative discretion animate concerns regarding judicial transparency. Those reasons reflect different theories of administration, theories that support conflicting justifications for the exercise of discretion by unelected state officials. This chapter tests the assertion that theories of administration also apply to assessments of judicial transparency. This test applies these theories in respect to transparency in the federal courts in civil litigation. The federal courts in the United States seem least amenable to the application of administrative theory. Unlike the judiciaries in many countries, the federal judiciary is not viewed as another state bureaucracy or as subject to executive administration as would be evidenced by oversight of a minister of justice. Federal judges are experienced members of the legal profession and of academia before being appointed, rather than civil servants who have advanced within a judicial bureaucracy. Federal judges serve for life on good behavior; they are not directly supervised by superiors in a judicial hierarchy with personnel authority over them. These attributes of federal judges suggest a system seemingly unlike administrative bureaucracies.

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