Judicial Power and Strategic Communication in Mexico

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Although they are not directly accountable to voters, constitutional court judges communicate with the general public through the media. In Judicial Power and Strategic Communication in Mexico, Jeffrey K. Staton argues that constitutional courts develop public relations strategies in order to increase the transparency of judicial behavior and promote judicial legitimacy. Yet, in some political contexts there can be a tension between transparency and legitimacy, and for this reason, courts cannot necessarily advance both conditions simultaneously. The argument is tested via an analysis of the Mexican Supreme Court during Mexico's recent transition to democracy, and also through a cross-national analysis of public perceptions of judicial legitimacy. The results demonstrate that judges can be active participants in the construction of their own power. More broadly, the study develops a positive political theory of institutions, which highlights the connections between democratization and the rule of law.