The Effect of Populism on American and Turkish Judiciaries
Keywords:judiciary, populism, government, political theory
In this article, I study the relationship of populism and judicial independence. I argue that populism poses a threat against the latter. Specifically, I use Turkey and the United States as illustrative case studies. First, I explain what an independent judiciary looks like, and proceed to explain the importance of a judiciary in a democracy, defined as a mixed regime. Furthermore, I discuss the threats facing judiciaries in the face of rising populist movements in Turkey and the United States. In Turkey, judges seen as disloyal to President Erdogan are replaced with judges that will rule in favor of the administration. In the United States, up to 90% of judges are elected, which is problematic for reasons related to the election mechanism’s relationship with democracy. Furthermore, there is a history of pressuring the judicial branch to conform to the wishes of the executive branch in America, which will also be examined. Finally, I will relate these pressure tactics to the idea of judicial populism. This notion, which states that courts may alter their opinions to appease a populist executive, has had wide-ranging policy implications. I will examine some of these in the paper.
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