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The Judge as Political Theorist: Contemporary Constitutional Review

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Judge as Political Theorist examines opinions by constitutional courts in liberal democracies to better understand the logic and nature of constitutional review. David Robertson argues that the constitutional judge's role is nothing like that of the legislator or chief executive, or even the ordinary judge. Rather, constitutional judges spell out to society the implications--on the ground--of the moral and practical commitments embodied in the nation's constitution. Constitutional review, in other words, is a form of applied political theory.

Robertson takes an in-depth look at constitutional decision making in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Canada, and South Africa, with comparisons throughout to the United States, where constitutional review originated. He also tackles perhaps the most vexing problem in constitutional law today--how and when to limit the rights of citizens in order to govern. As traditional institutions of moral authority have lost power, constitutional judges have stepped into the breach, radically altering traditional understandings of what courts can and should do. Robertson demonstrates how constitutions are more than mere founding documents laying down the law of the land, but increasingly have become statements of the values and principles a society seeks to embody. Constitutional judges, in turn, see it as their mission to transform those values into political practice and push for state and society to live up to their ideals.

Synopsis:

"This is a book by a political scientist that goes well beyond the political-science literature on constitutional courts and constitutional adjudication. Robertson sees new types of constitutions emerging that are not just legal documents structuring the political system, but are designed to give binding force to those values to which a society aspires, in most cases after a deep break in their history. This is a remarkable piece of research."--Dieter Grimm, Humboldt University of Berlin and Yale Law School

"I very much enjoyed reading The Judge as Political Theorist. I learned an immense amount. The book will be useful both to legal academics and to students."--Sanford V. Levinson, University of Texas, Austin

Synopsis:

The Judge as Political Theorist examines opinions by constitutional courts in liberal democracies to better understand the logic and nature of constitutional review. David Robertson argues that the constitutional judge's role is nothing like that of the legislator or chief executive, or even the ordinary judge. Rather, constitutional judges spell out to society the implications--on the ground--of the moral and practical commitments embodied in the nation's constitution. Constitutional review, in other words, is a form of applied political theory.

Robertson takes an in-depth look at constitutional decision making in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Canada, and South Africa, with comparisons throughout to the United States, where constitutional review originated. He also tackles perhaps the most vexing problem in constitutional law today--how and when to limit the rights of citizens in order to govern. As traditional institutions of moral authority have lost power, constitutional judges have stepped into the breach, radically altering traditional understandings of what courts can and should do. Robertson demonstrates how constitutions are more than mere founding documents laying down the law of the land, but increasingly have become statements of the values and principles a society seeks to embody. Constitutional judges, in turn, see it as their mission to transform those values into political practice and push for state and society to live up to their ideals.

About the Author

David Robertson is professor of politics and a fellow of St. Hugh's College at the University of Oxford. His books include "A Dictionary of Human Rights" and "Judicial Discretion in the House of Lords".

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter One: The Nature and Function of Judicial Review 1

Chapter Two: Germany: Dignity and Democracy 40

Chapter Three: Eastern Europe: (Re)Establishing the Rule of Law 83

Chapter Four: France: Purely Abstract Review 143

Chapter Five: Canada: Imposing Rights on the Common Law 187

Chapter Six: South Africa: Defining a New Society 226

Chapter Seven: Tests of Unconstitutionality and Discrimination 281

Chapter Eight: Conclusions: Constitutional Jurists as Political Theorists 347

Cases Cited 385

Bibliography 393

Index 407

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691144047
Author:
Robertson, David
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Subject:
Judicial review
Subject:
Constitutional courts
Subject:
Courts - General
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Judicial power
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
Law
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Law-Legal Guides and Reference
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100721
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 tables.
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 21 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » Judicial Power
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Judge as Political Theorist: Contemporary Constitutional Review New Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691144047 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This is a book by a political scientist that goes well beyond the political-science literature on constitutional courts and constitutional adjudication. Robertson sees new types of constitutions emerging that are not just legal documents structuring the political system, but are designed to give binding force to those values to which a society aspires, in most cases after a deep break in their history. This is a remarkable piece of research."--Dieter Grimm, Humboldt University of Berlin and Yale Law School

"I very much enjoyed reading The Judge as Political Theorist. I learned an immense amount. The book will be useful both to legal academics and to students."--Sanford V. Levinson, University of Texas, Austin

"Synopsis" by , The Judge as Political Theorist examines opinions by constitutional courts in liberal democracies to better understand the logic and nature of constitutional review. David Robertson argues that the constitutional judge's role is nothing like that of the legislator or chief executive, or even the ordinary judge. Rather, constitutional judges spell out to society the implications--on the ground--of the moral and practical commitments embodied in the nation's constitution. Constitutional review, in other words, is a form of applied political theory.

Robertson takes an in-depth look at constitutional decision making in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Canada, and South Africa, with comparisons throughout to the United States, where constitutional review originated. He also tackles perhaps the most vexing problem in constitutional law today--how and when to limit the rights of citizens in order to govern. As traditional institutions of moral authority have lost power, constitutional judges have stepped into the breach, radically altering traditional understandings of what courts can and should do. Robertson demonstrates how constitutions are more than mere founding documents laying down the law of the land, but increasingly have become statements of the values and principles a society seeks to embody. Constitutional judges, in turn, see it as their mission to transform those values into political practice and push for state and society to live up to their ideals.

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