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Unit 2

2.9 Independent Judiciaries

3 min readโ€ขnovember 15, 2020

kelly-cotton

Kelly Cotton


Topic 2.9 Independent Judiciaries

In Topic 2.9 Independent Judiciaries, you need to be able to explain the importance of independent judiciaries relative to other political institutions. In the CED, you are tasked with 1๏ธโƒฃ being able to discuss how much authority the judicial branch has to overrule the other branches of government and 2๏ธโƒฃ the role of the judiciary in strengthening democracy by protecting civil liberties and rights and maintaining separation of powers. A chart seems the best way to explore these tasks, so here we go!

Judicial Independence and Checks and Balances

CountryDegree of IndependenceExplanation or Example of Check and Balance or process to limit independence
UKno true independenceThe judicial branch cannot deem a law of parliament unconstitutional as there is parliamentary sovereignty, can only make parliament aware of points that do not meet with common law or precedent.
Russiano true independenceThe President and more importantly United Russia by controlling the majority in Congress, appoint and approve those who sit on federal judiciary. It also has legitimacy issues as the courts are often used by the President (Putin in particular) to target the opposition. The judiciary has also never used its power to check the Presidentโ€™s power or the Legislature.
Iranno true independenceThe Supreme Leader appoints the justices of the federal courts. Sharia law must always be followed. The concept of judicial review does exist, but the ultimate legal authority does not rest in the Constitution, but rather sharia law and that cannot be overruled. The law treats men and women unequally, as well as Muslims and non-Muslims. The death penalty is also allowed for homosexuality, drug dealing, and alcoholism an example of failure to protect civil liberties and rights.
Mexicotransitioning towards independenceThe Supreme Court has the power of judicial review and recent amendments have continued the work of making the system more independent and effective. However, there is a problem with legitimacy in Mexico as judges are often seen as corrupt or in fear of drug cartels.
Chinano true independenceThe CCP is the true center of power. The judiciary is bound by rule of law or bound to the decisions of the CCP. The CCP appoints individuals to the judiciary to enforce party decisions. China has a 99.3% conviction rate which is evidence that this is not a system that protects the civil liberties or civil rights of the people.
Nigeriatransitioning toward independenceThe Supreme Court has the power of judicial review and recent amendments have continued the work of making the system more independent and effective. However, in 2019 President Buhari suspended the chief just prior to the election, so this may indicate Nigeria is taking a step backwards from judicial independence. The court is still building legitimacy in Nigeria as in the 1990s it was clear that the military was controlling the courts. 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa and activist, as well as eight other Ogonis were detained and handed under orders from the court arranged by the military.
We are at the end of Unit 2: Political Institutions. Understanding this unit will prepare you for topics that could show up on the AP exam's argumentative essay. This is because you could easily be asked to construct an argument about any of the branches of government and how their structure and function impact independence, legitimacy, authority, and democracy just to name a few course concepts.
To be successful on the exam, you need to be able to understand the structure and function of the branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) in each or our course countries (UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง, Russia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ, Iran ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท, Mexico ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ, China ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ, and Nigeria ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ). Be sure to scroll back through the vocabulary, because as we covered in Unit 1, success in the course means knowing and applying your key terms. See you in Unit 3 ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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