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Constitutional Courts and Democratic ValuesA European Perspective$
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Victor Ferreres Comella

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300148671

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300148671.001.0001

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The Special Nature of Constitutional Discourse

The Special Nature of Constitutional Discourse

(p.36) Chapter Five The Special Nature of Constitutional Discourse
Constitutional Courts and Democratic Values

Víctor Ferreres Comella

Yale University Press

This chapter attempts to underscore the potential advantages to creating a special constitutional tribunal that is relatively detached from the ordinary judiciary. This is especially so in civil-law countries. Constitutional judges need to have a degree of “leisure” and “insulation” to reflect upon fundamental values, as Alexander Bickel put it. The centralized model offers an obvious advantage in this regard: the constitutional court can concentrate all its time and energy on checking the validity of parliamentary enactments and is, therefore, liberated from the task of ordinary adjudication. Many European countries bestow ordinary judges the authority to trigger the process of review; when they have doubts about the validity of a statute that is relevant to a case they are handling, they can certify a question to the constitutional court.

Keywords:   special constitutional tribunal, judiciary, civil-law countries, constitutional judges, fundamental values, Alexander Bickel

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