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Undue Process


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Table of Contents

1. The Process of Punishment; 2. A Theory of Judicial Repression; 3. Reading a Judicial Ritual; 4. Who Goes to Trial? 4. Who Goes to Trial? 5. Pathways of Punishment; 6. A Cooperative Judiciary; 7. Conclusion.

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This book explains how courts can be used to repress political challengers, institutionalize punishment, and undermine the rule of law.

About the Author

Fiona Feiang Shen-Bayh is an Assistant Professor of Government and Data Science at William & Mary.


'Meticulously researched and persuasively argued, Shen-Bayh demonstrates how autocrats can weaponize the ritual of trial; the formality and gravitas of court hearings are harnessed by autocrats to canonize a (fictitious) narrative of regime dynamics that furthers their political stability. The book is a stupendous accomplishment that I expect scholars of autocracy, the courts, and regime durability will be engaging with long into the future.' Mai Hassan, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, author of Regime Threats and State Solutions
'This is the state-of-the-art book on authoritarian courts. Laying out a political theory of punishment, Shen-Bayh greatly advances our theoretical and empirical understanding of how authoritarian regimes operate in an era of legality. A superb book that deserves wide readership in law and political science.' Tom Ginsburg, Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, University of Chicago Law School
'Shen-Bayh's book shows how even in contexts characterized by a high degree of informal politics, the formal institution of courts can play a central role in autocrats' survival strategies. Moreover, by showing how the law can be weaponized for coercive purposes against regime elites, her work improves our understanding of both the judicial system and elite management in autocracies. This book is a must read for scholars working on these topics.' Jennifer Gandhi, Political Science Professor and Department Chair, Emory University

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