Judicial impartiality in politically charged cases

Raphaël Franck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines under which institutional and political circumstances tenured public officials make partisan decisions. It analyzes the decisions of the judges from the French supreme administrative court regarding the validity of controverted mayoral elections between 1958 and 2007 and uses the vote differential between winners and losers in each election as a quasi-natural experiment to assess the judges’ impartiality. It appears that the judges became partisan after 1981, when the far-right Front National party started to gain more votes. Before 1981, judges cancelled elections only when the vote differential between the election winner and the closest challenger was small. Afterwards, the affiliation of the parties’ candidates also mattered as judges seldom cancelled elections won by communist, mainstream left-wing and mainstream right-wing politicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-229
Number of pages37
JournalConstitutional Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


  • Elections
  • Electoral fraud
  • Judges
  • Public officials


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