Judicial Militancy Within Red Lines

Source: Carnegie Endowment
Author(s): Nathan J. Brown

Original Link: http://carnegie-mec.org/diwan/64999

When I first visited Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) a quarter of a century ago, it was tucked away in dusty offices in the High Court building in downtown Cairo. The only bar to entering it was figuring out the location. It is now ensconced in its own quite imposing and well-guarded neo-Pharaonic building on the banks of the Nile.

Its political prominence has increased apace. In the 1980s and 1990s, the court was behind a series of legal defeats for the regime, which deprived it of some of the tools it had used for managing Egyptian politics and economics, such as manipulating electoral rules and vote counting, restricting non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and even introducing a sales tax. In all such cases, the court’s decisions were not threatening, but they were extremely annoying to the regime, forcing it to adjust and find new tools to replace those removed from its grip…

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