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In this provocative work, Martin Shapiro proposes an original model for the study of courts, one that emphasizes the different modes of decision making and the multiple political roles that characterize the functioning of courts in different political systems.
Comparative study has emerged as the new frontier of constitutional law scholarship as well as an important aspect of constitutional adjudication. Increasingly, jurists, scholars, and constitution drafters worldwide are accepting that 'we are all comparativists now'. And yet, despite this tremendous renaissance, the 'comparative' aspect of the enterprise, as a method and a project, remains under-theorized and blurry. Fundamental questions concerning the very meaning and purpose of comparative constitutional inquiry, and how it is to be undertaken, are seldom asked, let alone answered. In this path-breaking book, Ran Hirschl addresses this gap by charting the intellectual history and analytical underpinnings of comparative constitutional inquiry, probing the various types, aims, and methodologies of engagement with the constitutive laws of others through the ages, and exploring how and why comparative constitutional inquiry has been and ought to be pursued by academics and jurists worldwide. Through an extensive exploration of comparative constitutional endeavours past and present, near and far, Hirschl shows how attitudes towards engagement with the constitutive laws of others reflect tensions between particularism and universalism as well as competing visions of who 'we' are as a political community. Drawing on insights from social theory, religion, history, political science, and public law, Hirschl argues for an interdisciplinary approach to comparative constitutionalism that is methodologically and substantively preferable to merely doctrinal accounts. The future of comparative constitutional studies, he contends, lies in relaxing the sharp divide between constitutional law and the social sciences. Comparative Matters makes a unique and welcome contribution to the comparative study of constitutions and constitutionalism, sharpening our understanding of the historical development, political parameters, epistemology, and methodologies of one of the most intellectually vibrant areas in contemporary legal scholarship.
This comprehensive book compares the intersection of political forces and legal practices in five industrial nations--the United States, England, France, Germany, and Japan. The authors, eminent political scientists and legal scholars, investigate how constitutional courts function in each country, how the adjudication of criminal justice and the processing of civil disputes connect legal systems to politics, and how both ordinary citizens and large corporations use the courts.For each of the five countries, the authors discuss the structure of courts and access to them, the manner in which politics and law are differentiated or amalgamated, whether judicial posts are political prizes or bureaucratic positions, the ways in which courts are perceived as legitimate forms for addressing political conflicts, the degree of legal consciousness among citizens, the kinds of work lawyers do, and the manner in which law and courts are used as social control mechanisms. The authors find that although the extent to which courts participate in policymaking varies dramatically from country to country, judicial responsiveness to perceived public problems is not a uniquely American phenomenon.
One of the great continuing disputes of U.S. politics is about the role of the Supreme Court. Another is about the First Amendment. This book is about both. A classic defense of the openly political role of the Court, this book belies the notion reasserted recently by Chief Justice Roberts that judges are just neutral umpires. Especially in the area of speech, judges make policy; they create law.
Comparative Judicial Systems: Challenging Frontiers in Conceptual and Empirical Analysis is a comprehensive and cohesive collection of investigative essays written by significant contributors in the field of comparative judicial institutions and politics. These essays seek to explain the judicial systems of different nations and analyze their implications. The book is divided into three parts. Part I deals with the integration of courts into the study of politics and conceptual frameworks in comparative cross-national legal and judicial research. Part II covers analyses of the judicial systems of a certain nation, while Part III compares and analyzes judicial systems of different nations as well as their judicial background in relation to their subculture. The text is recommended for lawyers as well as those in the field of political science and in the judicial branch, especially those who are looking to countries as examples for the improvement of their local systems.
From Russia and Hungary to the United States and Canada, including Britain, France, and Germany, courts are increasingly recognised as political institutions that are important players in political systems. In addition, transnational courts such as the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights are extending their reach and affecting more than ever the politics of member states. The book contains essays written by scholars of law and political science exploring in interdisciplinary fashion the relationship between law and politics in cross-national perspective, focusing principally on contemporary Europe.

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