Edited by Erin F. Delaney and Rosalind Dixon
Chapter 4: Comparative constitutional law as a window on democratic institutions
This chapter approaches comparative constitutional law from a court-centered perspective rather than a rights-oriented perspective. The author discusses the role of new constitutional courts in forestalling a return to an autocratic past and in acting as the handmaidens of a new democratic order, by considering court creation in a broad swath of European countries and South Africa. The chapter pays particular attention to the specific role that the Constitutional Court in South Africa played in moving the country from a provisional to a final constitution. Next, the author reviews the role of constitutional courts in new democracies in aiding quick transitions to basic democratic governance before constitutional drafters are able to reach full agreement on and flesh out the specifics of constitutional compromise. Finally, the chapter assesses how courts in Argentina, Columbia, South Africa, Germany, India, and Israel have survived confrontations with political power with varying success.
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