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Strengthening state constitutionalism from the federal Constitution: the case of Mexico

In this essay, the author explores the way in which courts have played an important role in defining the shape of Mexico’s federal system and state constitutionalism in that country’s emerging multi-party democratic system. Specifically, three developments are examined: a) States’ constitutional reforms defining their own catalogues of human rights; b) Decisions of the Federal Electoral Tribunal enforcing the standards established in the federal constitution on how electoral processes have to be organized at state level; and c) Decisions of the Supreme Court enforcing the standards established in the federal constitution that seek to protect independence and autonomy of state judges. These developments illustrate how states have tried to use their sphere of constitutional autonomy in more creative ways, and the way in which interactions between the federal and state normative orders are taking place under the new political context.
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