The Politics of Adjudication

By Schwebel, Stephen M.; Wit, Jacob et al. | Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law, Annual 2008 | Go to article overview

The Politics of Adjudication


Schwebel, Stephen M., Wit, Jacob, Janow, Merit, Abi-Saab, Georges, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law


The panel was convened at 10:45 a.m., Friday, April 11, by its moderator, Daniel Terris of Brandeis University, who introduced the panelists: Stephen M. Schwebel, formerly of the International Court of Justice; Jacob Wit of the Caribbean Court of Justice; Merit Janow of Columbia University; and Georges Abi-Saab of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. *

INTRODUCTION

By Daniel Terris ([dagger])

Under the broad rubric of the politics of adjudication, we are asked to consider the relationship between the work of international judges, arbitrators, and the institutions of which they are a part and the world of politics broadly considered.

This session gives us the opportunity to consider "politics" here on at least three levels.

First, there is the relationship between judges and other adjudicators and the political process. How do individual judges conduct their work within the ebb and flow of the actions, desires, and influence of states and other political bodies? Under what pressures do these individuals find themselves? What resources do they have? To what extent do they consider politics in their work? To what extent can they be insulated from politics? To what extent is such insulation desirable?

Second, there is the nature of judicial institutions as political institutions. International courts themselves operate in the global political realm, conducting their work among other powerful institutional actors, including states, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, and other bodies. This consideration of institutional politics is distinct from the role of the individual judge, since it considers courts as collective bodies. Of course, there are nevertheless points of overlap.

A third aspect of the politics of adjudication is, perhaps, less frequently considered: the importance of the internal politics of judicial bodies. To what extent do internal considerations of power, prestige, and diplomacy affect the work of international adjudication? Since international judicial bodies are human institutions, these aspects are likely to play a part in their work, as they do in other professional environments. These internal dynamics may sometimes be related to other aspects of politics, but they are generally the least discussed, perhaps because outsiders have few opportunities to examine the closely-held details of the inner workings of the courts.

Public commentary regarding the relationship between politics and international judicial bodies often comes in one of two distinct flavors. On the one hand, critics of international courts unhesitatingly label the work of those courts "politics, not law," making the broad assumption either that international judges are simply performing the bidding of their countries of origin, or the equally broad assumption that states only use and heed international courts when it serves their political interests. Sometimes these critics make both arguments at once.

Some international judges themselves, on the other hand, perhaps bruised by these criticisms, are sometimes heard to fall back on a bland insistence that they simply follow the law, and that they exclude political considerations by mere professional will.

My own experience in listening to international judges suggests that the most reflective practitioners in this field bring a much more nuanced set of considerations to the table. Over the past several years I spoke with an extensive number of judges, along with my co-authors Cesare Romano and Leigh Swigart, as part of the research for our book: The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide the World's Cases (Hanover, N.H. and Oxford: Brandeis University Press and Oxford University Press, 2007)

We came to the conclusion that judges are reasonably realistic and sanguine about the idea that politics is not and cannot be removed from their work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Politics of Adjudication
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.