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Jack Balkin - Fragile Democracies: An Interview with Sam Issacharoff | Balkinization - June 2015
A bunch of great Qs from HB -- I recently spoke with Sam Issacharoff (NYU Law School) about his new book, Fragile Democracies: Contested Power in the Era of Constitutional Courts (CUP). -- JB: You are one of the foremost experts on American election law. How did you get interested in the constitutional problems of emerging democracies? JB: A key claim of the book is that courts can play an important role in keeping emerging democracies from backsliding into authoritarianism and dictatorship. Why are courts able to do this? -- JB: Critics of judicial review have long argued that it is inconsistent with democracy, and actually undermines it in the long run. How does your argument engage with those critics? SI: We have long debated the issue of judicial review and the countermajoritarian difficulty in the U.S. The new democracies of the 20thC and 21stC uniformly created constitutional courts whose central function was to check the exercise of power by the political branches(..) entrusted to these courts not only the power of judicial review, but the power to be the central administrative body over elections. The gamble is that democracy would be stabilized by guaranteeing limitations on government and repeat elections. (..) I would prefer to see the question whether strong court constitutionalism can sustain democracy in fractured societies as an empirical one-- of "does it work?" If it does, we can indulge the theoretical question of the legitimacy of how judicial power is exercised, but down the road a ways.
Instapaper  books  constitutional_law  constitutions  democratization  transition_economies  post-colonial  limited_government  power-concentration  power-asymmetric  accountability  government-forms  government-roles  checks-and-balances  separation-of-powers  judiciary  judicial_review  elections  voting  corruption  parties  legitimacy  legitimacy-international  authoritarian  one-party_state  democracy_deficit  political_participation  opposition  from instapaper
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Jonathan G. W. Conlin - High Art and Low Politics: A New Perspective on John Wilkes | JSTOR: Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3/4 (2001), pp. 356-381
Fascinating for mid to late 18thC issues for both Continental Enlightenment and British thinkers and artists re scope of public sphere and state responsibility for promotion of the arts, its benefits for polite culture including middle classes with polite aspirations -- Wilkes connections with philosophes including Holbach and Diderot -- and how Wilkes wove his political reforms and promotion of arts and industry together. Useful discussion of range of historian takes on Wilkes, who he mobilized, relation with older republican opposition and later dissenters and radical opposition. Hume opposition to Wilkes' anti monarchy and anti aristocracy republicanism leads to different assessment of progress in civilizing arts and role of doux commerce. Each historian seems to put Wilkes in their own narrative resulting in dramatically different assessments of both Wilkes himself and his impact. -- useful references -- Downloaded pdf to Note
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january 2014 by dunnettreader

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