Is the Judiciary under Pressure?
Judicial Independence in an Age of Terrorism
Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, University of Szeged
Over the past several decades, terrorist threats in western liberal democracies have grown substantially. But the level of threat went higher after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the US soil. The present paper examines the effect of terrorist threats on the judicial independence before the 9/11 and after the 9/11. Judicial independence is analyzed by modeling a constitutional ideological issue space analytical framework and drawing on relevant case law data involving litigations on terrorism-related human rights violations through court proceedings. The present paper argues that there is a variation in courts’ decisions on terrorism-related human rights violations before the 9/11 and after the 9/11. The level of terrorism threat is likely to help us understand this variation and to enable us to assess whether the level of terrorism threat could provide reliable theoretical explanation that can effectively be applied to different judicial systems across democracies. Employing small-N design and using case law data from four different western democracies (US, UK, Germany and France), results indicate that there are variations in court decisions involving similar cases on terrorism-related human rights violations adjudicated before the 9/11 and after the 9/11.