179 - The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and...

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http://ann.sagepub.com Political and Social Science The ANNALS of the American Academy of DOI: 10.1177/0002716205283132 2006; 603; 179 The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo Rule of Law and Lawyers in Latin America http://ann.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/603/1/179 The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: American Academy of Political and Social Science can be found at: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Additional services and information for http://ann.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://ann.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://ann.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/603/1/179 Citations at EMORY UNIV on March 18, 2010 http://ann.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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10.1 7 /0 02716205283132 January 603 THE AN ALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY RULE OF LAW AND LAWYERS IN LATIN AMERICA From the nineteenth century onward, lawyers have been the leading members of Latin American political elites. Nevertheless, Latin American countries have been plagued with caudillos and dictators, and lawyers have been these strongmen’s collaborators. The article explains the dissonance between the constitutionalism and legalism taught at the universities and the sordid political practices that resulted from the lack of inde- pendence of the legal profession: there was not a market for lawyers’ services, so lawyers depended on those who controlled the political apparatus. The situation started changing in the late twentieth century. During this re- cent period, lawyers and judges have shown more in- dependence and have become active political players, using the law as an instrument for opposing arbitrary political practices. The new trend is explained not only by the increased awareness of the rule of law values but also by the existence of a market for legal services. Keywords: lawyers’ political roles; Latin American politics N owadays we tend to associate rule of law with notions of liberty and democracy. The linkage with liberty comes from the limits that are imposed on public officials. The state is per- ceived as the most influential apparatus of power, which is why the restrictions imposed on the role of public officials and the protection of citizens’ rights are perceived as a guarantee of liberty. It is also believed that the rule of law pro- tects the electoral system and ensures the rights of minorities. In this sense, the rule of law is per- ceived as a political value. ANNALS, AAPSS , 603, January 2006 179 Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo is dean of the Facultad de Estudios Jurídicos y Políticos, Universidad Metropoli- tana, Caracas, Venezuela. He has served as the academic director of the Stanford Program for International Legal Studies (California) and of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Onati, Spain). He has pub-
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2010 for the course LATIN AMER LAC SOC taught by Professor Leighpayne during the Winter '10 term at Oxford University.

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179 - The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and...

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