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Militating Democracy: Comparative Constitutional Perspectives

24 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008  

Ruti Teitel

New York Law School

Date Written: December 12, 2008


Can constitutional review by judges save democracy? This Article identifies and discusses the rise of militant constitutional democracy by exploring diverse approaches to the role of constitutional and transnational judicial review in rights protection and the challenges that these approaches present to the workings of democracy, the possibilities of compromise, consensus, and conciliation in political life, and the challenge to other constitutional values as well. Militant constitutional democracy ought to be understood as belonging to transitional constitutionalism, associated with periods of political transformation that often demand closer judicial vigilance in the presence of fledgling and often fragile democratic institutions; it may not be appropriate for mature liberal democracies. As more robust institutions emerge, a more liberal form of constitutionalism may be apposite, which could offer a more pluralist approach to the tolerance even of illiberal practices, so long as these are understood as private, and not capturing of the State. Finally, the critical divide that may well illuminate comparative approaches to this area may devolve less on differing views of the value of the protection of individual expression or association and more on the differing approaches to the regulation and conceptualization of the public sphere and its relation to the State.

Keywords: European Convention of Human Rights, United States of America,Europe, Islam, Hate Speech

Suggested Citation

Teitel, Ruti mname, Militating Democracy: Comparative Constitutional Perspectives (December 12, 2008). Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 49, No. 29, 2007; NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09-13. Available at SSRN:

Ruti Teitel (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States

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