Does increased judicial independence lead to increased state respect for empowerment rights? Initial research on this topic suggested an affirmative answer, but new data calls this into question. We use new measures and modeling approaches to re-examine the effect of de facto judicial independence on state respect for empowerment rights. Empowerment rights include the rights to electoral self-determination, domestic movement, foreign movement, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and assembly and association. These rights are vital to democratic governance. They affect citizens' fundamental relationships with their government: the ability of citizens to criticize the government, the ability to live according to their belief systems, and their ability to seek refuge from repressive governmental actions. Our analysis reveals a positive, and robust, association between de facto judicial independence and state respect for these rights. We also examine two potential mechanisms that might explain this association. We conclude that the presence of de jure protections of organizational rights conditions the effect of de facto judicial independence on respect for empowerment rights. Our findings suggest that other domestic institutions, such as constitutional provisions that protect organizational rights, may also help improve state respect for empowerment rights.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations