Chris Kendall, Politics

Selective Enforcement: Balancing Principals in the Colombian Constitutional Court

Tue, 11/05/2013
Noon, 438 Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

Please join us on Tuesday, November 19, for a practice job talk with Chris Kendall, Ph.D. candidate in Politics, to discuss "Selective Enforcement: Balancing Principals in the Colombian Constitutional Court.".

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract: Why do some states’ judicial systems enforce international human rights obligations, whereas in other states seemingly independent judiciaries fail to enforce similar legal commitments? I argue that over the long term national court systems are more likely to enforce international human rights laws in states where the judiciary’s procedural rules allow for active manipulation of the terms of litigation. These courts have the most maneuverability when it comes to determining how and when to rule against the government, allowing them to take into consideration their role as agents to two distinct principals: the public and politicians. This allows them to increase or decrease the flow of litigation and thus control exposure to potentially institution-damaging political or public scrutiny. I examine this in the context of the Colombian Constitutional Court, a court with a domestic and international reputation as a strong rule-of-law actor, but one that has engaged in varying levels of enforcement across legal issue areas.

Chris Kendall is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics. He has broad interests in comparative politics, international relations theory, constitutionalism, and sovereignty claims. His dissertation examines how domestic institutions shape and constrain the spread of international legal norms. Prior to coming to Princeton, he received a JD from Berkeley Law.