The Politics of Constitutional Review in Germany

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Overview

Constitutional courts have emerged as central institutions in many advanced democracies. This book investigates the sources and the limits of judicial authority, focusing on the central role of public support for judicial independence. The empirical sections of the book illustrate the theoretical argument in an in-depth study of the German Federal Constitutional Court, including statistical analysis of judicial decisions, case studies, and interviews with judges and legislators. The book's major finding is that the interests of governing majorities, prevailing public opinion, and the transparency of the political environment exert a powerful influence on judicial decisions. Judges are influenced not only by jurisprudential considerations and their policy preferences, but also by strategic concerns. By highlighting this dimension of constitutional review, the book challenges the contention that high court justices are largely unconstrained actors as well as the notion that constitutional courts lack democratic legitimacy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Georg Vanberg's book is a welcome addition to the liteature on Germany's Federal Constitutional Court...The virtue of this book is that it builds on the empirical work of comparative judicial scholars...and mainly for the purpose of offering the discipline a more systematic means of measuring the political impact of constitutional courts in both mature and transitional democracies." - Perspectives on Politics, Donald P. Kommers, University of Notre Dame
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Georg Vanberg was educated at the College of William and Mary and at the University of Rochester. He has taught at the Florida State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on comparative constitutional and judicial politics as well as on coalition theory. Among others, his work has appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Politics.
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Table of Contents

1. The politics of constitutional review; 2. Implementation, public support, and transparency; 3. The Federal Constitutional Court in comparative perspective; 4. Transparency and judicial deference; 5. From the inside looking out: judicial and legislative perceptions; 6. Pushing the limits: party-finance legislation and the Bundesverfassungsgericht; 7. Prudent jurists; Bibliography; Index.
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