Populism, courts and institucionalidad: a view from Latin America


  • Gabriel Rezende Federal University of Paraiba




democracy, populism, institutions, constitutional courts


This paper addresses the relationship between populism and constitutional courts, with reference to the Latin American context. By means of a genealogical reconstruction of the ideas of populism and institucionalidad, we study how the debate on judicial activism has been taken up by populist politics. We introduce a theoretical model that sees in contemporary forms of populism a strategy to reparadoxify the legal system, denying courts the ability to protect the organisational autonomy of the judiciary. This is of interest because, in the last 30 years, the courts have represented a new field for the creation of democratic legitimacy, allowing minority groups to defend their political agendas through fundamental rights litigation.


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