Measuring Judicial Independence: The Political Economy of Judging in Japan

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 15, 2010 - Law - 224 pages
The role of the U.S. Supreme Court in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election raised questions in the minds of many Americans about the relationships between judges and political influence; the following years saw equally heated debates over the appropriate role of political ideology in selecting federal judges. Legal scholars have always debated these questions—asking, in effect, how much judicial systems operate on merit and principle and how much they are shaped by politics.

The Japanese Constitution, like many others, requires that all judges be "independent in the exercise of their conscience and bound only by this Constitution and its laws." Consistent with this requirement, Japanese courts have long enjoyed a reputation for vigilant independence—an idea challenged only occasionally, and most often anecdotally. But in this book, J. Mark Ramseyer and Eric B. Rasmusen use the latest statistical techniques to examine whether that reputation always holds up to scrutiny—whether, and to what extent, the careers of lower court judges can be manipulated to political advantage.

On the basis of careful econometric analysis of career data for hundreds of judges, Ramseyer and Rasmusen find that Japanese politics do influence judicial careers, discreetly and indirectly: judges who decide politically charged cases in ways favored by the ruling party enjoy better careers after their decisions than might otherwise be expected, while dissenting judges are more likely to find their careers hampered by assignments to less desirable positions.

Ramseyer and Rasmusen's sophisticated yet accessible analysis has much to offer anyone interested in either judicial independence or the application of econometric techniques in the social sciences.

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Contents

1968
1
1 The Setting
7
Methodology and Communist Judges
26
AntiGovernment Opinions and Electoral Law Disputes
48
Military Malapportionment Injunctions and Constitutional Law
62
Taxpayers against the Government
82
Suspects against the Government
96
7 Toward a PartyAlternation Theory of Comparative Judicial Independence
122
8 Conclusions
169
Appendixes
173
References
187
Index
197
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Page 178 - The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under which it determines the rules of procedure and of practice, and of matters relating to attorneys, the internal discipline of the courts and the administration of judicial affairs.
Page 70 - Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.
Page 178 - Judges shall not be removed except by public impeachment unless judicially declared mentally or physically incompetent to perform official duties. No disciplinary action against judges shall be administered by any executive organ or agency. ARTICLE 79 The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and such number of judges as may be determined by law; all such judges excepting the Chief Judge shall be appointed by the Cabinet. The appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court shall be reviewed...

About the author (2010)

J. Mark Ramseyer is the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He is coauthor of the award-winning Japanese Law: An Economic Approach, published by the University of Chicago Press.

Eric B. Rasmusen is the University Foundation Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He is the author of the widely used textbook Games and Information.

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