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Measuring Judicial IndependenceThe Political Economy of Judging in Japan$
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J. Mark Ramseyer and Eric B. Rasmusen

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226703886

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226703879.001.0001

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Political Disputes: Military, Malapportionment, Injunctions, and Constitutional Law

Political Disputes: Military, Malapportionment, Injunctions, and Constitutional Law

(p.62) 4 Political Disputes: Military, Malapportionment, Injunctions, and Constitutional Law
Measuring Judicial Independence
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes a broad range of politically charged cases in Japan. It uses several proxies for a judge's seniority, intelligence, effort, and ideology. It holds constant those proxies and examines the careers of judges who held either the Self-Defense Force (the SDF) or U.S. bases unconstitutional; judges who rejected national electoral apportionment schemes advantageous to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP); and judges who enjoined the national government in administrative-law suits. Systematically, the chapter finds that they suffered in their careers. It concludes by comparing the incentives presented by these disputes with the incentives in important but less politically charged cases in constitutional and commercial law. The chapter begins by briefly discussing the context of public-law litigation in Japan at the Supreme Court level. It then explores the connection between lower-court opinions in such cases and judicial careers. Finally, it compares those results with the career effects of two sets of less political but still important cases.

Keywords:   political disputes, constitutional law, Liberal Democratic Party, administrative-law suits, public-law litigation, judicial career

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