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Tinkering with Tenure: the Russian Constitutional Court in a Comparative Perspective

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the politics of an aspect of judicial selection systems; namely, the efforts to modify the length of judicial tenure. The main argument of the chapter is that the very process of introducing "tenure" amendments may seriously affect the final outcome, which refers to the degree of independence of the high court from other political institutions. The chapter traces the changes in the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) Act during 1991-2001 when the politicians and justices set out the rules of judicial tenure four times. The Russian experience shows that lengthy debates over judicial tenure occurred in both contexts of legislative-executive confrontation under El'tsin (1994) and of legislative-executive cooperation under Putin (2001), and in all four cases of successful "tenure" amendments, the Russian legislature managed to have a final say in the question of the length of tenure of the RCC justices.

Keywords: Boris El'tsin; judicial tenure; political institutions; Russian constitutional court (RCC) act; Vladimir Putin



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