The Judge in a Democracy

The Judge in a Democracy

By: Aharon Barak (author)Paperback

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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.

About Author

Aharon Barak is President of the Supreme Court of Israel. He is the author of "Judicial Discretion" (1989), "Purposive Interpretation in Law" (Princeton, 2005), several books in Hebrew, and numerous articles in English-language law journals.


Introduction ix PART ONE: THE ROLE OF THE JUDGE 1 Chapter One: Bridging the Gap between Law and Society 3 Law and Society 3 Changes in Legislation and in Its Interpretation 4 Changes in Society Affecting the Constitutionality of Statutes 8 Changes in the Common Law 10 Change and Stability 11 Chapter Two: Protecting the Constitution and Democracy 20 The Struggle for Democracy 20 What Is Democracy? 23 The Separation of Powers 35 Democracy and the Rule of Law 51 Fundamental Principles 57 Independence of the Judiciary 76 Human Rights 81 Criticism and Response 88 PART TWO: THE MEANS OF REALIZING THE JUDICIAL ROLE 99 Chapter Three: Preconditions for Realizing the Judicial Role 101 Judicial Impartiality and Objectivity 101 Social Consensus 107 Public Confidence 109 Chapter Four: The Meaning of Means 113 The Legitimacy of the Means 113 Operative Legal Theory 113 Judicial Philosophy 116 Chapter Five: Interpretation 122 The Essence of Interpretation 122 Purposive Interpretation 125 Purposive Interpretation of a Constitution 127 Purposive Interpretation of Statutes 136 Purposive Interpretation and Judicial Discretion 146 Purposive Interpretation and Intentionalism (or Subjective Purpose) 148 Purposive Interpretation and Old Textualism 149 Purposive Interpretation and New Textualism 152 Chapter Six: The Development of the Common Law 155 The Common Law as Judge-Made Law 155 Judicial Lawmaking 157 Overruling Precedent 158 Chapter Seven: Balancing and Weighing 164 The Centrality of Balancing and Weighing 164 Balancing and Categorization 166 The Nature of Balancing 167 Types of Balancing 170 The Advantages of Balancing 172 Critique of Balancing and Response 174 The Scope of the Balancing 175 Chapter Eight: Non-Justiciability, or "Political Questions" 177 The Role and Limits of Justiciability 177 Types of Justiciability 178 Justiciability and Public Confidence 186 Chapter Nine: Standing 190 Standing and Adjudication 190 Standing and Substantive Democracy 194 Chapter Ten: Comparative Law 197 The Importance of Comparative Law 197 The Influence of Comparative Law 198 Comparative Law and Interpretation of Statutes 199 Comparative Law and Interpretation of the Constitution 200 Use of Comparative Law in Practice 202 Chapter Eleven: The Judgment 205 Formulating the Judgment and Realizing the Judicial Role 205 The Judge as Part of the Panel 208 PART THREE: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COURT AND THE OTHER BRANCHES OF THE STATE 213 Chapter Twelve: Tension among the Branches 215 Constant Tension 215 The Tension Is Natural and Desirable 216 The Attitude toward the State 217 Public Officials as Trustees 220 Duties of the Individual toward the State 222 Chapter Thirteen: The Relationship between the Judiciary and the Legislature 226 The Uniqueness of the Legislature 226 Judicial Review of Legislation 229 Judicial Review of Nonlegislative Decisions of the Legislature 231 The Dialogue between the Judiciary and the Legislature 236 Chapter Fourteen: The Relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive 241 The Scope of Review 241 Judicial Interpretation and Executive Interpretation 246 Executive Reasonableness 248 Proportionality 254 PART FOUR: EVALUATION OF THE ROLE OF A JUDGE IN A DEMOCRACY 261 Chapter Fifteen: Activism and Self-Restraint 263 Definition of the Terms 263 Some Definitions and Their Critiques 267 Definition of Activism and Self-Restraint 270 The Desirability of Activism or Self-Restraint 279 Chapter Sixteen: The Judicial Role and the Problem of Terrorism 283 Terrorism and Democracy 283 In Battle, the Laws Are Not Silent 287 The Balance between National Security and Human Rights 291 Scope of Judicial Review 298 Chapter Seventeen: The Role of the Judge: Theory, Practice, and the Future 306 Theory 306 Reality 310 The Future 310 Index 317

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691136158
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 368
  • ID: 9780691136158
  • weight: 539
  • ISBN10: 0691136157
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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