What are judicial loyalties, and how do they condition the exercise of judicial power? This paper explores the informal dimension of judicial politics and its implications for our understanding of judicial power in weakly institutionalized democracies.
It explores how loyalty commitments influence judicial behavior, particularly in cases of political importance, and reflects on the complex relationship between the presence and pervasiveness of informal connections between judges and politicians and the rise of judicial power, especially in Latin America.
The paper also discusses the research strategy employed to investigate these issues in Venezuela, across different types of regime, with special attention to the Supreme Court during the late democratic period (1989-1998), and after the onset of Chavismo (post-1999). Finally, the paper ponders the challenges associated with exploring informal judicial dynamics in comparative perspective.