The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance, and Judicial Design

Speaker:
  • Associate Professor of Government and Co-Director, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice
Location: Sid Richardson Hall Unit 1, 2nd floor conference room

In recent times there has been a dramatic change in the nature and scope of constitutional justice systems in the global south. New or reformed constitutions have proliferated, protecting social, economic, and political rights. While constitutional courts in Latin America have traditionally been used as ways to limit power and preserve the status quo, the evidence shows that they are evolving into a functioning part of contemporary politics and a central component of a system of constitutional justice.

In their new book, “The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance, and Judicial Design,” authors Daniel M. Brinks and Abby Blass lay bare the political roots of this transformation, outlining a new way to understand judicial design and the very purpose of constitutional justice. Brinks and Blass use case studies drawn from nineteen Latin American countries over forty years to reveal the ideas behind the new systems of constitutional justice. They show how constitutional designers entrust their hopes and fears to dynamic governance systems, in hopes of directing the development of constitutional meaning over time.

Daniel Brinks is associate professor of government in the fields of Comparative Politics and Public Law. His research focuses on the role of the law and courts in supporting or extending human rights and many of the basic rights associated with democracy, with a primary regional interest in Latin America.
In recent times there has been a dramatic change in the nature and scope of constitutional justice systems in the global south. New or reformed constitutions have proliferated, protecting social, economic, and political rights. While constitutional courts in Latin America have traditionally been used as ways to limit power and preserve the status quo, the evidence shows that they are evolving into a functioning part of contemporary politics and a central component of a system of constitutional justice.

In their new book, “The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance, and Judicial Design,” authors Daniel M. Brinks and Abby Blass lay bare the political roots of this transformation, outlining a new way to understand judicial design and the very purpose of constitutional justice. Brinks and Blass use case studies drawn from nineteen Latin American countries over forty years to reveal the ideas behind the new systems of constitutional justice. They show how constitutional designers entrust their hopes and fears to dynamic governance systems, in hopes of directing the development of constitutional meaning over time.

Daniel Brinks is associate professor of government in the fields of Comparative Politics and Public Law. His research focuses on the role of the law and courts in supporting or extending human rights and many of the basic rights associated with democracy, with a primary regional interest in Latin America.

For more information, contact Paloma Diaz at p.diaz@austin.utexas.edu

Respondents

  • William E. Forbath Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law & Associate Dean for Research, Texas Law

Supporters

Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Event series: Colloquia, Labor, Inequality & Human Rights