Legal Opportunity Structures and Social Movements: The Effects of Institutional Change on Costa Rican Politics
Wilson, Bruce M.
Rodríguez Cordero, Juan Carlos
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How does institutional change in established democracies affect the distribution of political power in society? The new constitutional court in Costa Rica allows the authors to analyze the effects of judicial reform on the capacity of politically marginalized groups to safeguard their constitutional rights. Particular attention is paid to homosexuals, AIDS patients, and labor unions. The authors argue that it was not the establishment of the court as such but rather the specific rules regulating access to and cost of approaching the court that enabled marginalized groups to push for their rights and effectively circumvent the traditional policy-making process. Although these groups did not win all their cases, they have nonetheless been able to achieve considerable success in the protection of their previously denied constitutional rights. The legal reform partially redistributed power in society from policy makers to social groups and individuals.
- Ciencias políticas