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Comparing Judicial Activism

Comparing Judicial Activism

Nuno Garoupa, ‘Comparing Judicial Activism – Can We Say That the US Supreme Court Is More Activist than the German Constitutional Court?’, Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 72, no. 4 (2016): 1089–1106, DOI 10.17990/RPF/2016_72_4_1089.

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  • Comparing Judicial Activism – Can we say that the US Supreme Court is more Activist than the German Constitutional Court?

    Type Journal Article
    Author Nuno Garoupa
    Rights © 2016 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2016 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    Volume 72
    Issue 4
    Pages 1089-1106
    Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    ISSN 0870-5283; 2183-461X
    Date 2016
    DOI 10.17990/RPF/2016_72_4_1089
    Language English
    Abstract Although widely used, “judicial activism” is a diffused and, to some extent, an empty concept. However, if it is to be useful in comparative law and politics, a transparent and consistent definition of “judicial activism” has to be developed. We assess different approaches and the consequent comparative implications. We conclude that, at some levels, we can answer whether or not the US Supreme Court is more activist than the German Constitutional Court. Nevertheless, such question cannot be addressed satisfactorily once we understand the complexities of “judicial activism”.
    Date Added 18/01/2017, 17:53:56
    Modified 19/01/2017, 16:58:34


    • Constitutional Review
    • constraint
    • judicial activism
    • restraint


    • Arlota, Carolina and Nuno Garoupa, “Addressing Federal Conflicts: An Empirical Analysis of the Brazilian Supreme Court, 1988-2010,” Review of Law and Economics 10 (2014): 137-168.
      Colby, Tom, “The Sacrifice of the New Originalism,” Georgetown Law Journal 99 (2011): 714-778.
      Coroado, Susana, Nuno Garoupa and Pedro Magalhães, “An Empirical Analysis of Behavioral Changes in the Portuguese Constitutional Court, 2002-2016,” mimeograph under submission (2017).
      Cross, Frank B. and Stefanie A. Lindquist, “The Scientific Study of Judicial Activism,” Minnesota Law Review 91 (2007): 1752-1784.
      Dalla Pellegrina, Lucia, Jef De Mot, Michael Faure and Nuno Garoupa, “Choosing between the Government and the Regions: An Empirical Analysis of the Belgian Constitutional Court Decisions,” mimeograph under submission (2016).
      Dalla Pellegrina, Lucia and Nuno Garoupa, “Choosing between the Government and the Regions: An Empirical Analysis of the Italian Constitutional Court Decisions,” European Journal of Political Research 52 (2013): 431-480.
      Easterbrook, Frank H., “Do Liberals and Conservatives Differ in Judicial Activism?” University of Colorado Law Review 73 (2002): 1401-1416.
      Epstein, Lee and William Landes, “Was There Ever Such a Thing as Judicial Self-Restraint?” California Law Review 100 (2012): 557-578.
      Escresa, Laarni and Nuno Garoupa, “Judicial Politics in Unstable Democracies: The Case of the Philippine Supreme Court, 1986-2010,” Asian Journal of Law and Economics 3 (2012), article 2.
      Garoupa, Nuno, Marian Gili and Fernando Gómez-Pomar, “Political Influence and Career Judiciary: An Empirical Analysis of Administrative Review by the Spanish Supreme Court,” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 9 (2013): 795-826.
      Garoupa, Nuno and Tom Ginsburg, Judicial Reputation: A Comparative Study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
      Garoupa, Nuno, Fernando Gómez-Pomar and Veronica Grembi, “Judging Politically: An Empirical Analysis of Constitutional Review Voting in the Spanish Constitutional Court,” Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 29 (2013): 513-534.
      Garoupa, Nuno and Veronica Grembi, “Judicial Review and Political Partisanship: Consensual vs. Majoritarian Democracy,” International Review of Law and Economics 43 (2015): 32-45.
      Garoupa, Nuno, Veronica Grembi and Shirley C Lin, “Explaining Constitutional Review in New Democracies: The Case of Taiwan,” Pacific Rim Law and Policy Review 20 (2011): 1-40.
      González Bertomeu, Juan, Lucia Dalla Pellegrina and Nuno Garoupa, “Estimating Judicial Ideal Points in Latin America: The Case of Argentina,” Review of Law and Economics 12 (2016): forthcoming.
      Green, Craig, “An Intellectual History of Judicial Activism,” Emory Law Journal 58 (2009): 1958-2012.
      Hein, Michael and Stefan Ewert, “How do Types of Procedure Affect the Degree of Politicization of European Constitutional Courts? A Comparative Study of Germany, Bulgaria, and Portugal,” European Journal of Legal Studies 9 (2016): 62-102.
      Huq, Aziz Z., “When was Judicial Self-Restraint?” California Law Review 100 (2012): 579-606.
      Kantorowicz, Jaroslaw and Nuno Garoupa, “An Empirical Analysis of Constitutional Review Voting in the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, 2003-2013,” Constitutional Political Economy 27 (2016): 66-92.
      Keck, Tom, Judicial Politics in Polarized Times. Chicago: University Chicago Press, 2014.
      Kmiec, Keenan D., “The Origin and Current Meanings of Judicial Activism,” California Law Review 92 (2004): 1441-1478.
      Lipkin, Robert Justin, “We are All Judicial Activists Now,” University of Cincinnati Law Review 77 (2008): 181-232.
      Posner, Richard, “The Rise and Fall of Judicial Self-Restraint,” California Law Review 100 (2012): 519-556.
      Pruksacholavit, Panthip and Nuno Garoupa, “Patterns of Judicial Behavior on the Thai Constitutional Court, 2008-2014: An Empirical Approach,” Asian Pacific Law Review 24 (2016): 16-35.
      Ranis, Ethan J., “Loose Constraints: The Bare Minimum for Solum’s Originalism,” Texas Law Review 93 (2014): 765-788.
      Rayburn Young, Corey, “Flexing Judicial Muscle: An Empirical Study of Judicial Activism in the Federal Courts,” Northwestern University Law Review 105 (2011): 1-60.
      Roberts, Caprice L., “In Search of Judicial Activism: Dangers in Quantifying the Qualitative,” Tennessee Law Review 74 (2007): 567-621.
      Siegel, Neil S., “Interring the Rhetoric of Judicial Activism,” DePaul Law Review 59 (2010): 555-600.
      Solum, Lawrence B., “Originalism and Constitutional Construction,” Fordham Law Review 82 (2013): 453-537.
      Varol, Ozan O., Lucia Dalla Pellegrina and Nuno Garoupa, “An Empirical Analysis of Judicial Transformation in Turkey,” American Journal of Comparative Law 64 (2016): forthcoming.
      Woodson, Benjamin, “Politicization and the Two Modes of Evaluating Judicial Decisions,” Journal of Law and Courts 3 (2015): 193-221.


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