Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America
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Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America

Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg

This book provides unique insights into the practice of democratic constitutionalism in one of the world’s most legally and politically significant regions. It combines contributions from leading Latin American and global scholars to provide ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ insights about the lessons to be drawn from the distinctive constitutional experiences of countries in Latin America. In doing so, it also draws on a rich array of legal and interdisciplinary perspectives. Ultimately, it shows both the promise of democratic constitutions as a vehicle for social, economic and political change, and the variation in the actual constitutional experiences of different countries on the ground – or the limits to constitutions as a locus for broader social change.
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Chapter 12: Between power and submissiveness: constitutional adjudication in Latin America

Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri


This chapter reflects on the different experiences that Latin America’s constitutional courts have had in their attempt to control political action, influence policy, and secure the rights of citizens in the past two decades. After providing a brief introduction to the topic, relying on the growing literature on comparative constitutionalism and judicial politics in the region, the chapter discusses and contrasts the very dissimilar experiences of two constitutional courts in Latin America: the Sala Cuarta of the Costa Rican Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Chamber of the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal. The former provides a good example of a powerful, influential court, whilst the latter exemplifies a weak, submissive, constitutional adjudication body. Venezuela, Costa Rica, constitutional courts, judicial power, judicial independence, judicial review

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