The Judge as Political Theorist: Contemporary Constitutional Review

Princeton University Press
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The Judge as Political Theorist examines opinions by constitutional courts in liberal democracies to better understand the logic and nature of constitutional review. David Robertson argues that the constitutional judge's role is nothing like that of the legislator or chief executive, or even the ordinary judge. Rather, constitutional judges spell out to society the implications--on the ground--of the moral and practical commitments embodied in the nation's constitution. Constitutional review, in other words, is a form of applied political theory.

Robertson takes an in-depth look at constitutional decision making in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Canada, and South Africa, with comparisons throughout to the United States, where constitutional review originated. He also tackles perhaps the most vexing problem in constitutional law today--how and when to limit the rights of citizens in order to govern. As traditional institutions of moral authority have lost power, constitutional judges have stepped into the breach, radically altering traditional understandings of what courts can and should do. Robertson demonstrates how constitutions are more than mere founding documents laying down the law of the land, but increasingly have become statements of the values and principles a society seeks to embody. Constitutional judges, in turn, see it as their mission to transform those values into political practice and push for state and society to live up to their ideals.

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About the author

David Robertson is professor of politics and a fellow of St. Hugh's College at the University of Oxford. His books include A Dictionary of Human Rights and Judicial Discretion in the House of Lords.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2010
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9781400836871
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Constitutional
Law / Judicial Power
Political Science / Comparative Politics
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The eighty-five famous essays by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay--known collectively as the Federalist Papers--comprise the lens through which we typically view the ideas behind the U.S. Constitution. But we are wrong to do so, writes David Brian Robertson, if we really want to know what the Founders were thinking. In this provocative new account of the framing of the Constitution, Robertson observes that the Federalist Papers represented only one side in a fierce argument that was settled by compromise--in fact, multiple compromises. Drawing on numerous primary sources, Robertson unravels the highly political dynamics that shaped the document. Hamilton and Madison, who hailed from two of the larger states, pursued an ambitious vision of a robust government with broad power. Leaders from smaller states envisioned only a few added powers, sufficient to correct the disastrous weakness of the Articles of Confederation, but not so strong as to threaten the governing systems within their own states. The two sides battled for three arduous months; the Constitution emerged piece by piece, the product of an evolving web of agreements. Robertson examines each contentious debate, including arguments over the balance between the federal government and the states, slavery, war and peace, and much more. In nearly every case, a fractious, piecemeal, and very political process prevailed. In this way, the convention produced a government of separate institutions, each with the will and ability to defend its independence. Majorities would rule, but the Constitution made it very difficult to assemble majorities large enough to let the government act. Brilliantly argued and deeply researched, this book will change the way we think of "original intent." With a bracing willingness to challenge old pieties, Robertson rescues the political realities that created the government we know today.
From the best-selling author of A Vast Conspiracy and The Run of His Life comes Too Close to Call--the definitive story of the Bush-Gore presidential recount. A political and legal analyst of unparalleled journalistic skill, Jeffrey Toobin is the ideal writer to distill the events of the thirty-six anxiety-filled days that culminated in one of the most stunning Supreme Court decisions in history.

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Conventional wisdom today says that to survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. "Disrupt yourself or be disrupted!" is the relentless message company leaders hear. The Power of Little Ideas argues there's a "third way" that is neither sustaining nor disruptive. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.

This distinctive approach has three key elements:It consists of creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work together to make that product more appealing and competitive.The complementary innovations work together as a system to carry out a single strategy or purpose.Crucially, unlike disruptive or radical innovation, innovating around a key product does not change the central product in any fundamental way.

In this powerful, practical book, Wharton professor David Robertson illustrates how many well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, USAA, Novo Nordisk, and many others, used this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. He outlines the organizational practices that unintentionally torpedo this approach to innovation in many companies and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges.

Aimed at leaders seeking strategies for sustained innovation, and at the quickly growing numbers of managers involved with creating new products, The Power of Little Ideas provides a logical, organic, and enduring third way to innovate.

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