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Authoritarian Legacies: Persistent Patronage Networks and the Erosion of Merit-Based Judicial Selection in Mexico.

Julio A. Ríos Figueroa; Professor of Political Science, CIDE-División de Estudios Políticos


During Mexico’s transition to democracy, at the end of 1994, a Judicial Council was created with the explicit aim of establishing a merit-based system for the selection and promotion of judges at all levels of the federal judiciary. However, a series of indicators including nepotistic practices and ad hoc examinations show a divergence between the formal merit-based judicial career and the actual practice of appointments and promotions, which is biased in favor individuals with connections to sitting judges and persons already working in the federal judiciary. Why? What is the source of the divergence between the formally merit-based career and the actually biased hiring practices? This paper argues that patronage networks formed during the authoritarian period, when the Supreme Court hand-picked lower court judges, have persisted under the democratic regime eroding the meritocratic selection system. Based on archival data, and on a unique dataset on nepotism within the judiciary, the paper uncovers the patronage networks, and aims at showing their persistence and effects on the performance of the Judicial Council set to select judges on merit since 1995. Leveraging a relational perspective, the paper offers a mechanism of transmission and reproduction of enduring authoritarian practices despite democratic efforts to uproot them.
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When and Where

Map Haven Hall - Eldersveld Room (5670)

April 2018

12:00pm - 1:30pm

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