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Is the Spanish Constitutional Court an instrument of the central government against the Autonomous Communities?

López-Laborda, Julio and Rodrigo, Fernando and Sanz-Arcega, Eduardo (2016): Is the Spanish Constitutional Court an instrument of the central government against the Autonomous Communities?

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Abstract

This work applies various probit/logit models to a database constructed by the authors, consisting of rulings by the Spanish Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional, TC) resolving positive conflicts of competence between the Central Government and the Autonomous Communities from 1981 to 2014. Our goal is to contrast empirically whether the decisions of the Court respond strictly to legal criteria (the legalist or formalist viewpoint) or if they are determined by political motivations, so that we can state that the TC constitutes an extension, in the jurisdictional milieu, of the central executive power (the realist viewpoint). According to the results of our estimations, we can state that the approach which appears to predominate in the behaviour of the TC is the legalistic one.

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