Explaining the Impact of Court Packing in Judicial Independence

Increasing the number of judges in the courts is usually referred as “court packing” and allows the politicians to pack the court with friendly judges instead of removing unfriendly ones. This may ultimately alter the location of median justice closer to the government’s preference and end up with a higher court that abstains to nullify the governmental policies. Focusing specifically on the judicial reforms that increase the number of the sitting judges in the courts, this project aims to understand whether, and if so, how, and under which conditions court packing affects judicial behavior. Conducting a cross-country analysis of 90 countries for the years 1948-2012, the first part of the research aims to empirically show whether, and if so, under which conditions court packing affects de facto judicial independence. By using case materials from Turkey and Hungary, the second part of the project would explore the causal mechanisms between court packing and emergence of a dependent judiciary.