Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reich on Regime Change, Legal Change, and Mexico's Second Empire

Regime Change and Legal Change: The Legacy of Mexico's Second Empire, by Peter L Reich, Whittier Law School, is now available on the Oxford University Comparative Law Forum.  It commences:
Does regime change result in legal change? To answer that question, this study considers whether the Second Mexican Empire, the French-imposed reign of Emperor Maximilian von Habsburg from 1863 to 1867, left a lasting effect on the law of Mexico despite successor governments' disparagement of the foreign intervention. Previous scholars have already examined various aspects of Imperial legal history, including the impact of the Código Imperial (the Imperial Code) on the 1870 Código Civil (Civil Code), legislation, judicial power, religion, attitudes regarding law and the state, popular concepts of good government, and court administration.1 As well, there have been regional studies of Imperial justice in the states of Querétaro and Durango.2 But so far no historian has focused specifically on case law to gauge whether jurisprudence following the Empire's defeat upheld or rejected judicial decisions from Maximilian's era. As this study will show, courts sometimes overruled and sometimes sustained the Empire's decisions, depending on whether the prior cases were essentially political or merely dealt with quotidian matters of debt, contract, or public records. For purposes of comparison, a brief section will discuss regime change and its legal effects in other societies—ancient Roman provinces, formerly French Canada, and formerly Mexican California—which also reveal a range of responses influenced by local conditions.

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