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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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Overcoming Judicial Timidity

Overcoming Judicial Timidity

(p.71) Chapter Seven Overcoming Judicial Timidity
Constitutional Courts and Democratic Values

Víctor Ferreres Comella

Yale University Press

This chapter presents the argument that, despite their public visibility, constitutional courts cannot be timid—in two senses. First, the court cannot shy away from constitutional issues and has to confront them. Second, it is not easy for the court to be extremely deferential toward the legislature. A significant percentage of the laws that are challenged must be found to be totally or partially unconstitutional. Though several different factors can push judges in one direction or the other when it comes to how aggressively they exercise legislative review, some structural components of the European model operate as vectors of activism. A system of constitutional review is established to create a forum of principle where fundamental values are taken seriously.

Keywords:   public visibility, constitutional courts, timid, constitutional issues, legislature, activism

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