Guillermo Garcia (Law, Harvard University)
"The Political Effects of Centralizing the Defense of the State in One Branch"
Aniruddha Jairam (Political Science, University of Pennsylvania)
"'The Law May Not Be Real, But the Lathi [Big Stick] Is': Dispute Resolution and State Capacity in an Indian District Court"
GUILLERMO GARCIA’S PAPER FOCUSES on the centralization of executive power in international legal defenses of government actions. It explores the lessons learned in U.S. constitutional law concerning the role that the executive power plays in defending the interests of the federal government before the Supreme Court, and compares them with the experience of Latin American executives in litigating cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).
ANIRUDDHA JAIRAM'S PAPER ARISES out of fieldwork conducted in a civil court in northern India. While the problems of the Indian legal system at the macro level are well documented, I attempt to examine issues of informality within legal institutions of the state through participant-observation of the everyday life and workings of one local court. I argue that citizens see courts, not necessarily as sites of law, but as sites of resolution. The emphasis on resolution is marked by an informalization of practice, the importance of non-technical competence on the part of legal professionals and bureaucrats and expectations of a final settlement as opposed to a legal one.