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Description - Towards Juristocracy by Ran Hirschl

In countries and supranational entities around the globe, constitutional reform has transferred an unprecedented amount of power from representative institutions to judiciaries. The constitutionalization of rights and the establishment of judicial review are widely believed to have benevolent and progressive origins, and significant redistributive, power-diffusing consequences. Ran Hirschl challenges this conventional wisdom.

Drawing upon a comprehensive comparative inquiry into the political origins and legal consequences of the recent constitutional revolutions in Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and South Africa, Hirschl shows that the trend toward constitutionalization is hardly driven by politicians' genuine commitment to democracy, social justice, or universal rights. Rather, it is best understood as the product of a strategic interplay among hegemonic yet threatened political elites, influential economic stakeholders, and judicial leaders. This self-interested coalition of legal innovators determines the timing, extent, and nature of constitutional reforms.

Hirschl demonstrates that whereas judicial empowerment through constitutionalization has a limited impact on advancing progressive notions of distributive justice, it has a transformative effect on political discourse. The global trend toward juristocracy, Hirschl argues, is part of a broader process whereby political and economic elites, while they profess support for democracy and sustained development, attempt to insulate policymaking from the vicissitudes of democratic politics.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674025479
ISBN-10: 0674025474
Format: Paperback / softback
(235mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 296
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 4-Sep-2007
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Ran Hirschl

Ran Hirschl is Professor of Political Science and Law, University of Toronto, and Canada Research Chair in Constitutionalism and Democracy.

Books By Ran Hirschl

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