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"This is an important, concise, and well-written book that provides readers with bold insights into the converging patterns of jurisprudence in the field of election law in Canada and the United States." - Cynthia Ostberg, University of the Pacific
The High Court is taking an increasingly important role in shaping the contours of democracy in Australia. In deciding fundamental democratic questions, does the Court pursue a consistent and overarching democratic vision? Or are its decisions essentially constrained by institutional and practical limitations? Judging Democracy, first published in 2000, addresses this question by examining the Court's recent decisions on human rights, citizenship, native title and separation of powers. It represents the first major political and legal examination of the Court's new jurisprudence and the way it is influencing democracy and the institutions of governance in Australia. A foreword to the book has been written by the former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Anthony Mason.
In Judging Democracy, Christopher Manfredi and Mark Rush challenge assertions that the Canadian and American Supreme Courts have taken radically different approaches to constitutional interpretation regarding general and democratic rights. Three case studies compare Canadian and American law concerning prisoners' voting rights, the scope and definition of voting rights, and campaign spending. These examples demonstrate that the two Supreme Courts have engaged in essentially the same debates concerning the franchise, access to the ballot, and the concept of a "meaningful" vote. They reveal that the American Supreme Court has never been entirely individualistic in its interpretation and protection of constitutional rights and that there are important similarities in the two Supreme Courts' approaches to constitutional interpretation. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate that an astonishing convergence has occurred in the two courts' thinking concerning the integrity of the democratic process and the need for the judiciary to monitor legislative attempts to regulate the political process in order to promote or ensure political equality. Growing numbers of justices in both courts are now wary of legislative attempts to cloak laws designed to protect incumbents through electoral reform. Judging Democracy thus points to a new direction not only in judicial review and constitutional interpretation but also in democratic theory.
Whether examining election outcomes, the legal status of terrorism suspects, or if (or how) people can be sentenced to death, a judge in a modern democracy assumes a role that raises some of the most contentious political issues of our day. But do judges even have a role beyond deciding the disputes before them under law? What are the criteria for judging the justices who write opinions for the United States Supreme Court or constitutional courts in other democracies? These are the questions that one of the world's foremost judges and legal theorists, Aharon Barak, poses in this book. In fluent prose, Barak sets forth a powerful vision of the role of the judge. He argues that this role comprises two central elements beyond dispute resolution: bridging the gap between the law and society, and protecting the constitution and democracy. The former involves balancing the need to adapt the law to social change against the need for stability; the latter, judges' ultimate accountability, not to public opinion or to politicians, but to the "internal morality" of democracy. Barak's vigorous support of "purposive interpretation" (interpreting legal texts--for example, statutes and constitutions--in light of their purpose) contrasts sharply with the influential "originalism" advocated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As he explores these questions, Barak also traces how supreme courts in major democracies have evolved since World War II, and he guides us through many of his own decisions to show how he has tried to put these principles into action, even under the burden of judging on terrorism.
Courts, like other government institutions, shape public policy. But how are courts drawn into the policy process, and how are patterns of policy debate shaped by the institutional structure of the courts? Drawing on the experience of the Brazilian federal courts since the transition to democracy, Judging Policy examines the judiciary's role in public policy debates. During a period of energetic policy reform, the high salience of many policies, combined with the conducive institutional structure of the judiciary, ensured that Brazilian courts would become an important institution at the heart of the policy process. The Brazilian case thus challenges the notion that Latin America's courts have been uniformly pliant or ineffectual, with little impact on politics and policy outcomes. Judging Policy also inserts the judiciary into the scholarly debate regarding the extent of presidential control of the policy process in Latin America's largest nation. By analyzing the full Brazilian federal court system—including not only the high court, but also trial and appellate courts—the book develops a framework with cross-national implications for understanding how courts may influence policy actors' political strategies and the distribution of power within political systems.
What can we learn about democracy from the experience of post-Soviet Russia? What can we learn about the prospects for democracy in Russia from the experience of 'really existing democracies'? Must some 'pre-requisites', cultural or material, be fulfilled for democracy to become possible? This book examines the current state of Russia and the prospects for democracy, posing several challenges to our understanding of democracy. Thirteen contributors expand the debate over these questions, offering a variety of insights, interpretations, and conclusions vital to understanding the conditions of emergence and survival of successful democracies.
In the last twenty-five years, there has been a raging debate over how judges should interpret the laws of Congress - called federal statutes. In an ideal world, federal statutes would always be clearly worded and easily-understood by the judges tasked with interpreting them, But many laws are worded ambiguously or even contradictorily, requiring the judge to divine their meaning. Should, for example, the judge understand "convicted in any court" to include any court in the world, or simply any court in the United States? How is the judge to determine the answer? Should she stick only to the text? To what degree, if any, should the judge consult aids beyond the statutes themselves, including legislative materials, when interpreting laws? Are the purposes of lawmakers in writing law relevant? Some judges, such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, believe courts should look to the language of the statute and virtually nothing else. Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit respectfully disagrees. In Judging Statutes, Judge Katzmann, both a trained political scientist and a judge, argues that our constitutional system charges Congress with enacting laws; so, how Congress makes its purposes known through both the laws themselves and reliable accompanying materials should be respected. He contends that when courts interpret the laws of Congress, they should pay greater attention to how Congress actually functions, how lawmakers signal their meaning in statutes, and what they expect from those interpreting its laws. The legislative record behind a law is in truth part of its foundation, and therefore merits consideration Judge Katzmann begins his argument with a look at how the American government works, including how laws come to be and how various agencies construe legislation. He then explains the judicial process of interpreting and applying these laws through the demonstration of two interpretative approaches, purposivism-that is, focusing on the purpose of a law-and textualism-that is, focusing on the text of the written law itself. Judge Katzmann draws from his personal experience on the U.S. Court of Appeals in showing how this process plays out in the real world, and concludes with some suggestions to promote understanding between the courts and Congress.

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