Judges as Guardians of Constitutionalism and Human Rights
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Judges as Guardians of Constitutionalism and Human Rights

Edited by Martin Scheinin, Helle Krunke and Marina Aksenova

This book considers the many challenges that national and supranational judges have to face when fulfilling their roles as guardians of constitutionalism and human rights. The contributors, both academics and judges, discuss key examples of contemporary challenges to judging – including the nature of courts’ legitimacy and its alleged dependence on public support; the role of judges in upholding constitutional values in the times of transition to democracy, surveillance and the fight against terrorism; and the role of international judges in guaranteeing globally recognized fundamental rights and freedoms.
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Chapter 4: Courts as protectors of the people: constitutional identity, popular legitimacy and human rights

Helle Krunke


Professor Helle Krunke, Head of Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies, University of Copenhagen. The chapter draws on the other chapters of this section engaging in discussions on popular legitimacy and courts. Hence popular legitimacy for courts through the role as protector of the people is discussed. The author reflects on whether the strengthened integration in the European Union, which in some member states has more support in the political institutions than among the People, provides the national Constitutional Courts/Supreme Courts with a role as protectors of the people and hence with popular legitimacy. Furthermore international courts as protectors of the people and popular legitimacy are discussed. Finally, the impact of the role of courts as protectors of the people on human rights is discussed and the possible dangers of court legitimacy through popular legitimacy are emphasised.

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