The role of justice in the face of authoritarianism*

Prof. Aníbal Pérez-Liñán**

The political attack on justice is a central moment in the processes of democratic erosion. When we look at the cases of autocratization in Latin America and the European Union we find that the capture of justice (especially the capture of constitutional courts) is the decisive, and often irreversible, moment in the slide towards authoritarian rule. Many people today are asking why the capture of the judiciary has become so important to authoritarian leaders, and what we can do in the face of this challenge. To explore these questions, I propose three ideas:

The first is that the relationship between authoritarianism and the rule of law is not linear. Political science has had to confront this ambiguity throughout its intellectual history.

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