This book explains how the rule of law emerges and how it survives in nascent democracies. The question of how nascent democracies construct and fortify the rule of law is fundamentally about power. By focusing on judicial automy, a key component of the rule of law, this book demonstrates that the fragmentation of political power is a necessary condition for the rule of law. In particular, it shows how party competition sets the stage for independent courts. Using case studies of Argentina at the national level and of two neighboring Argentine provinces, San Luis and Mendoza, this book also addresses patterns of power in the ecomic and societal realms. The distribution of ecomic resources among members of a divided elite fosters competitive politics and is therefore one path to the requisite political fragmentation. Where institutional power and ecomic power converge, a reform coalition of civil society actors can overcome mopolies in the political realm.
Rebecca Bill Chavez is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy.