Engst, Benjamin G.
The Two Faces of Judicial Power : Dynamics of Judicial-Political Bargaining
2021, Engst, Benjamin G.
This book shows that constitutional courts exercise direct and indirect power on political branches through decision-making. The first face of judicial power is characterized by courts directing political actors to implement judicial decisions in specific ways. The second face leads political actors to anticipate judicial review and draft policies accordingly. The judicial–political interaction originating from both faces is herein formally modeled. A cross-European comparison of pre-conditions of judicial power shows that the German Federal Constitutional Court is a well-suited representative case for a quantitative assessment of judicial power. Multinomial logistic regressions show that the court uses directives when evasion of decisions is costly while accounting for the government’s ability to implement decisions. Causal analyses of the second face of judicial power show that bills exposed to legal signals are drafted accounting for the court. These findings re-shape our understanding of judicialization and shed light on a silent form of judicialization.
Temporal Strategies : Governments Alter the Pace of Legislation in Bicameralism Depending on Electoral Expectations
2022-02, Garwe, Christoph, Engst, Benjamin G., Stawicki, Yannick G., Hönnige, Christoph
Does a government in a bicameral system strategically alter the length of the legislative process in the first chamber in anticipation of future majorities in the second chamber? Drawing on an existing formal model of dynamic policymaking, we argue that governing majorities strategically accelerate or delay their agenda when a potential majority change in the second chamber is imminent. If the government fears losing control over the second chamber, then the government accelerates their agenda. By contrast, if the government hopes to gain control over the second chamber, the government decelerates their agenda. We test our argument in Germany's symmetric and asymmetric bicameralism by analyzing 1,966 governmental bills from 1998 to 2013. The analyses confirm our expectations for symmetric bicameralism, thus suggesting that the synchronicity of election cycles should be taken into account both in the analysis of bicameral systems and in institutional design of such systems.
Reducing Sound Exposure During Ocular Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential Testing for Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome
2021, Zuniga, M. Geraldine, Schell, Angela, Engst, Benjamin G., Carey, John P.
Ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (oVEMP) testing in response to air-conducted sound (ACS) has excellent sensitivity and specificity for superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS). However, patients with SCDS may experience vertigo with the test, and recent works recommend minimizing acoustic energy during VEMP testing.
To develop an oVEMP protocol that reduces discomfort and increases safety without compromising reliability.
Subjects: Fifteen patients diagnosed with SCDS based on clinical presentation, audiometry, standard VEMP testing, and computed tomography (CT) imaging. There were 17 SCDS-affected ears and 13 unaffected ears. In nine (53%) of the SCDS-affected ears surgical repair was indicated, and SCD was confirmed in each. oVEMPs were recorded in response to ACS using 500 Hz tone bursts or clicks. oVEMP amplitudes evoked by 100 stimuli (standard protocol) were compared with experimental protocols with only 40 or 20 stimuli.
In all three protocols, oVEMP amplitudes in SCDS-affected ears were significantly higher than in the unaffected ears (p < 0.001). 500 Hz tone bursts evoked oVEMPs with excellent (>90%) sensitivity and specificity in each of the three protocols. However, in the unaffected ears, lowering to 20 stimuli reduced the detection of oVEMP responses in some ears. Following surgical repair, oVEMPs normalized in each of the protocols.
In oVEMP testing using ACS for SCDS, reducing the number of trials from 100 to 40 stimuli results in a more tolerable and theoretically safer test without compromising its effectiveness for the diagnosis of SCDS. Reducing to 20 stimuli may degrade specificity with clicks.
The Effect of Ultra-slow Velocities on Insertion Forces : A Study Using a Highly Flexible Straight Electrode Array
2021-09-01, Zuniga, M. Geraldine, Hügl, Silke, Engst, Benjamin G., Lenarz, Thomas, Rau, Thomas S.
The present study sought to 1) characterize insertion forces resulting from a flexible straight electrode array (EA) inserted at slow and ultra-slow insertion velocities, and 2) evaluate if ultra-slow velocities decrease insertion forces independent of other variables.
Low insertion forces are desirable in cochlear implant (CI) surgery to reduce trauma and preserve hearing. Recently, ultra-slow insertion velocities (lower than manually feasible) have been shown to produce significantly lower insertion forces using other EAs.
Five flexible straight EAs were used to record insertion forces into an inelastic artificial scala tympani model. Eleven trial recordings were performed for each EA at five predetermined automated, continuous insertion velocities ranging from 0.03 to 1.6 mm/s.
An ultra-slow insertion velocity of 0.03 mm/s resulted in a median insertion force of 0.010 N at 20 mm of insertion depth, and 0.026 N at 24.3 mm—the final insertion depth. These forces represent only 24 to 29% of those measured using 1.6 mm/s. After controlling for insertion depth of the EA into the artificial scala tympani model and trial insertion number, decreasing the insertion velocity from 0.4 to 0.03 mm/s resulted in a 50% decrease in the insertion forces.
Using the tested EA ultra-slow velocities can decrease insertion forces, independent of variables like insertion depth. Our results suggest ultra-slow velocities can reduce insertion forces at least 60%, compared with humanly feasible continuous velocities (≥0.9 mm/s).
Die Besetzung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts : Ein Spiegelbild gesellschaftlicher Präferenzen?
2020, Engst, Benjamin G., Gschwend, Thomas, Sternberg, Sebastian
Welche Kandidierenden wünscht sich die Öffentlichkeit als Richterinnen und Richter am Bundesverfassungsgericht? Verfassungsgerichte benötigen öffentliche Unterstützung. Diese ergibt sich auch aus der Legitimität der gewählten Richterinnen und Richter. Wir argumentieren, dass politische Akteure durch (nicht-)institutionalisierte Auswahlkriterien die (1) juristische und (2) politisch-ideologische Ausrichtung des Gerichts bestimmen. Kandidierende besitzen Eigenschaften beider Dimensionen. Durch ein Discrete-Choice-Experiment ermitteln wir die öffentlich präferierten Eigenschaften. Wir zeigen, welche Rolle die politische Position von Befragten bei der Bewertung von Kandidierenden spielt und vergleichen die „ideale Richterin“ mit aktuellen Richterinnen und Richtern sowie Kandidierenden rund um Stephan Harbarths Wahl. Die Ergebnisse erweitern unser Verständnis von gerichtlicher Legitimität.