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María José Sarrabayrouse Oliveira

The military coup of March 1976 in Argentina ruptured the prevailing institutional order, with the greater part of its repressive strategy built on clandestine practices and tactics (death, torture and disappearance) that sowed fear across large swathes of Argentine society. Simultaneously, the terrorist state established a parallel, de facto legal order through which it endeavoured to legitimise its actions. Among other social forces, the judicial branch played a pivotal role in this project of legitimisation. While conscious of the fact that many of those inside the justice system were also targets of oppression, I would like to argue that the dictatorship‘s approach was not to establish a new judicial authority but, rather, to build upon the existing institutional structure, remodelling it to suit its own interests and objectives. Based on an analysis of the criminal and administrative proceedings that together were known as the Case of the judicial morgue, this article aims to examine the ways in which the bodies of the detained-disappeared that entered the morgue during the dictatorship were handled, as well as the rationales and practices of the doctors and other employees who played a part in this process. Finally, it aims to reflect upon the traces left by judicial and administrative bureaucratic structures in relation to the crimes committed by the dictatorship, and on the legal strategies adopted by lawyers and the families of the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Substance, symbols, and hope

The election of Barack Obama was a milestone in US history with tremendous symbolic importance for the black community. But was this symbolism backed up by substance? Did ordinary black people really benefit under the first black president?

This is the question that Andra Gillespie sets out to answer in Race and the Obama Administration. Using a variety of methodological techniques—from content analysis of executive orders to comparisons of key indicators, such as homeownership and employment rates under Clinton, Bush, and Obama— the book charts the progress of black causes and provides valuable perspective on the limitations of presidential power in addressing issues of racial inequality. Gillespie uses public opinion data to investigate the purported disconnect between Obama’s performance and his consistently high ratings among black voters, asking how far the symbolic power of the first black family in the White House was able to compensate for the compromises of political office.

Scholarly but accessible, Race and the Obama Administration will be of interest to students and lecturers in US politics and race studies, as well as to general readers who want to better understand the situation of the black community in the US today and the prospects for its improvement.


The spatial element in post-communist Russian politics is now a political fact, but the scope and nature of regional autonomy and initiative is far less clear. In the 1990s the old hyper-centralised Soviet state gave way to the fragmentation of political authority and contesting definitions of sovereignty. Under President Boris Yeltsin a complex and unstable balance was drawn between the claimed prerogatives of the centre and the normative and de facto powers of the regions. This book argues convincingly that Russia will never be able to create a viable democracy as long as authoritarian regimes are able to flourish in the regions. The main themes covered are democratisation at the regional level, and the problems faced by the federal states in forging viable democratic institutions in what is now a highly assymetrical Federation. The book presents a combination of thematic chapters with case studies of particular regions and republics. It takes into account the literature available on the 'new institutionalism' and outlines the importance of institutions in developing and maintaining democracy. The book discusses the importance of sovereignty, federalism and democratic order, and considers the distinct problems of party-building in Russia's regions. It considers electoral politics and the whole issue of regional politics and democratisation in five particular areas of Russia - Novgorod, the Komi Republic, Russia's Far East, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

Open Access (free)
Arthur B. Gunlicks

. Though the degree of party discipline varies to some Intro 27/5/03 11:39 am Page 3 Introduction 3 extent among different parties and countries, the parties are typically rather strongly disciplined. The reason, of course, is that the stability of the cabinet depends largely on the disciplined support it receives in the parliament, which has the right to call for a vote of no-confidence in the government under certain conditions. In all democracies, including parliamentary systems, there is a separation of powers between the judicial branch and the other branches

in The Länder and German federalism
Robert J. McKeever

beginnings The origins of the United States Supreme Court are infuriatingly vague and ambiguous. We know, of course, that the framers of the Constitution intended to create a supreme court at the head of the judicial branch of the federal government: but exactly what kind of court, they did not make fully clear. Most puzzling of all, they gave no indication in the written text of the Constitution that the Supreme Court possessed the power of judicial review, and especially they did not state that it possessed the power to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional. In

in The United States Supreme Court
Patrick O’Leary

expected to opt for the executive or the judicial branch, or, if he was thought to be lacking energy or ability, he might be pushed into the latter. The top post open to a Civilian was that of ruler of a province, a lieut.-governor, but he could also, if he were talented, find himself fulfilling diplomatic or border duties as part of the Political Service, the diplomatic arm of the Indian government

in Servants of the empire
Abstract only
Geoffrey K. Roberts

of government (the legislative, executive and judicial branches). They have thus, it is claimed, created a ‘system’ which renders useless the methods by which citizens might be expected to express their political views effectively (von Arnim 2001). The theoretically free formation of political parties is restricted by the strict legal requirements of the Party Law and, even when parties are formed and acquire official recognition under the Party Law, they find it difficult to succeed electorally because of the 5 per cent clauses in the federal and Länder electoral laws

in German electoral politics
Abstract only
The politics of Supreme Court appointments
Robert J. McKeever

executive branch (the President) or the legislative branch (the Senate, but not in this case the House) from having sole control over the selection of Supreme Court Justices and thus from controlling the judicial branch. At the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, the delegates had discussed a variety of proposals for the appointment of members of the Court. Some sought to give the power exclusively to the President, while others placed judicial selection solely in the hands of the legislative branch. Proponents of the former were fearful that the legislature would appoint

in The United States Supreme Court
Shaping custom
Kasey McCall-Smith

the course of its study of customary international law, States operate in their own domestic legal order. 47 In most systems there is a distinct separation between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the State. Each contributes to State practice and opinio juris in varying ways. Legislative acts can be drawn upon to demonstrate State practice in the determination of a customary rule of international law. Judicial decisions are highly suggestive of opinio juris while policies and practice of the executive can lend support to both elements of

in International organisations, non-State actors, and the formation of customary international law
Marcel H. Van Herpen

Constitution leaves it to Congress to decide how many members the Supreme Court should have. Yet President Roosevelt probably never proposed a more distasteful measure.” 14 The role the American Supreme Court has played has been different in different historical periods, sometimes active, other times more restrained. The question is, according to Archibald Cox, who served in 1973 as Special Watergate Prosecutor in the Department of Justice: “What role should the judicial branch play in the government of the American people? Should the Court play an active, creative role

in The end of populism