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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478

Abstract

DA ROS, Luciano. Professional judges? Career patterns for members of the Brazilian (1829-2008) and United States (1789-2008) Supreme Courts. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.41, pp. 149-169. ISSN 0104-4478.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782012000100010.

This article compares the career profiles of U.S. and Brazilian supreme court judges throughout the political history of these two countries. For these purposes, we analyze data on professional and juridical experience and the circulation of positions within other branches of State power, including elected offices, prior to Supreme Court appointment. In particular, this examination reveals similarities and differences of professionalization patterns among those who are the height of judicial power in both countries, allowing for discussion of the political bases of this phenomenon within the juridical field. Most significantly, the article suggests that periods of increased recruitment of individuals linked to specifically juridical professions occurs as a response to the strengthening of the courts themselves. In the face of a new stage of increased prominence of these institutions, people who are recognizably qualified in the area become an alternative source of legitimation for the organs themselves, whether in contexts of competition or of the political hegemony of particular groups.

Keywords : Juridical Careers; Selection of Judges; Professionalization; Juridical Professions.

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