November 24th, 2016 – High Courts and Socio-Economic Rights in Latin America, Sandra Botero (Willamette University)

We continue the Latin American Political Economy –LAPE- Seminar Series on November 24th, 2016 with a talk by Dr. Sandra Botero (Willamette University) entitled:

High-Courts and Socio-Economic Rights in Latin America

In recent decades, citizens in democracies of the global south have increasingly turned to courts seeking to solve political disputes and to enforce rights. Some scholars have a cautious view of the potential of courts to advance rights and view them as inconsequential or even detrimental. Others have a more optimist assessment of the role for courts in these arenas. Under what conditions can courts in developing democracies produce political and social change? More specifically, why do some rulings have a significant impact on socioeconomic rights while others have very little? In this presentation I share the findings from a research project aimed at advancing our understanding of judicial impact by focusing on the novel and understudied oversight mechanisms that some assertive high courts have recently deployed to monitor adherence to some of their most important rulings. These mechanisms include institutional innovations such as follow-up committees, public hearings and information requests. My central claim is that courts can be most consequential when they act in concert with other actors to create political spaces for ongoing discussion and engagement with regards to rights. The analysis is based on comparative case studies of landmark socioeconomic rights cases handed down by two of Latin America’s most rights activist tribunals: Argentina’s Supreme Court and Colombia’s Constitutional Court.

Dr. Sandra Botero (Ph.D. Political Science, University of Notre Dame) is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Willamette University. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2015. She specializes in comparative judicial politics and courts and politics in young democracies. Her first book project studies the role of high courts in advancing socioeconomic rights in Latin America. The book is based on research that received the 2016 Law and Society Association Award for the dissertation that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.

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