An Essay on the Emergence of Constitutional Courts: The Cases of Mexico and Colombia

January 2009
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies;Winter2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p173
Academic Journal
This essay explores the emergence of the Mexican Supreme Court and the Colombian Constitutional Court as powerful political actors. Mexico and Colombia undertook constitutional transformations designed to empower their respective national high courts in the 1990s to facilitate a democratic transition. These constitutional transformations opened up political space for the Mexican Supreme Court and the Colombian Constitutional Court to begin to displace political actors in the tasks of constitutional construction and maintenance. These two courts play different roles, however, in their respective democratic orders. Mexico chose to empower its Supreme Court to police vertical and horizontal separation of powers whereas Colombia fashioned a Constitutional Court whose task is to deepen the social bases of democracy by constructing rights. This essay argues that the constitutional changes that occurred are a necessary but not sufficient explanation for the role these two courts play. The agenda courts undertake is shaped both by short-term political bargains and by long-term societal transformations. As a result of both the bargains that led to the adoption of a new constitution and broader intellectual transformations regarding the role of courts in effectuating constitutional guarantees, the Colombian Constitutional Court has pursued a more ambitious agenda than the Mexican Supreme Court.


Related Articles

  • Liberal Jurisprudence, Labor Tribunals, and Mexico's Supreme Court, 1917-1924. JAMES, T. M. // Law & History Review;Spring2009, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p87 

    The article analyzes the Mexican Supreme Court's labor jurisprudence between 1917 and 1924. It challenges the assumption of an uninterrupted judicial subservience to the decisions and policies of the executive branch of government. It specifically focuses on the Supreme Court's original...

  • New check on Latin leaders. LaFranchi, Howard // Christian Science Monitor;9/19/2000, Vol. 92 Issue 209, p1 

    Discusses the increasing authority of judicial courts in Latin American countries such as Mexico where the Supreme Court has ordered President Ernesto Zedillo to provide it with documents containing information on the funding of his presidential election. Role of judicial systems in...

  • COURT SEEKS COMMENTS. Ranger, Edward M. // Business Mexico;Nov2003, Vol. 13 Issue 11, p15 

    Reports that the Supreme Court is coordinating an evaluation of the status of rule of law in Mexico. Seeking of public comments, experiences and advice; Deadline for submission to the Supreme Court review; Considerations of the Court.

  • Mexico Leans to the Right on Abortion. Sierra, José Luis // La Prensa San Diego;10/7/2011, Vol. 35 Issue 40, p2 

    The article discusses the issue of legalizing abortion in Mexico which is being debated by the members of the Supreme Court.

  • Supreme court vetoes new liberalisation law.  // Modern Power Systems;May2002, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p12 

    Reports the rejection of the Supreme Court to the proposals of the government to change the electricity law in Mexico. Aim of the proposals to enable state company CFE to purchase additional capacity from private sector power generators; Creation of wholesale markets by the government in an...

  • Mexico moves switch date.  // Daily Variety;11/17/2011, Vol. 313 Issue 34, p7 

    The article reports that Mexico will switch the date of its terrestrial analog-to digital from 2021 to 2015 after seven of the 12 judges in the Supreme Court has voted against it.

  • Mexico's Supreme Court grapples with the question of 'right to life'. Martinez, Mariana // La Prensa San Diego;9/30/2011, Vol. 35 Issue 39, p1 

    The article reports on the deliberations that Mexico's Supreme Court is facing due to the issue of right to life.

  • Standing in non-use cancellations: Mexican Supreme Court misses the real target. de Landa, Aldo // Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice;Jul2012, Vol. 7 Issue 7, p489 

    The Mexican Supreme Court has sought to resolve a conflict concerning legal standing in non-use cancellation actions but has instead created further confusion.

  • Marriage equality gains in Mexico, Costa Rica.  // Empty Closet;Sep2010, Issue 438, p4A 

    The article reports on the ruling of the Mexican Supreme Court on August 11, 2010, stating that the marriage equality law of Mexico City was constitutional.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics