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Judicial review by constitutional courts is often presented as a necessary supplement to democracy. This book questions its effectiveness and legitimacy. Drawing on the republican tradition, Richard Bellamy argues that the democratic mechanisms of open elections between competing parties and decision-making by majority rule offer superior and sufficient methods for upholding rights and the rule of law. The absence of popular accountability renders judicial review a form of arbitrary rule which lacks the incentive structure democracy provides to ensure rulers treat the ruled with equal concern and respect. Rights based judicial review undermines the constitutionality of democracy. Its counter-majoritarian bias promotes privileged against unprivileged minorities, while its legalism and focus on individual cases distort public debate. Rather than constraining democracy with written constitutions and greater judicial oversight, attention should be paid to improving democratic processes through such measures as reformed electoral systems and enhanced parliamentary scrutiny.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521683678
ISBN-10: 052168367X
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Pages: 282
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 13-Sep-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Professor Richard Bellamy

Richard Bellamy is Professor of Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy, University College London. He is the author of five books, numerous articles and book chapters and has edited over 20 volumes including The Cambridge History of Twentieth Century Political Thought (with Terence Ball, Cambridge, 2003) and editions of Beccaria and Gramsci in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series.

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