Democracy, the Courts, and the Liberal State: A Comparative Analysis of American and German Constitutionalism

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Reformulating a problem of both constitutionalism and liberalism discussed in the works of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Hannah Arendt, and Alexis de Tocqueville, the book examines one generally overlooked manifestation of constitutionalism: the role of the courts in shaping democratic politics and the inter-relationship between citizens and state.

Drawing on constitutional history, law, and political theory, David Miles argues that constitutionalism cannot be seen merely as an institutional mechanism to limit government, as it also has a crucial civic dimension upon which the liberal state depends. Utilising the works of Böckenförde, Arendt, and Tocqueville, constitutionalism is conceived in the book as part of a broader system of communal norms which sustains representative democracy and liberalism. Through an analysis of judicial interventions in the electoral processes of the United States and Germany, Miles explores the role of civil society actors in transforming constitutionalism through legal challenges to oligarchical or exclusionary practices. He assesses how, in adjudicating these cases, the US Supreme Court and the German Constitutional Court have mediated the tension between threats to stability and the imperative of democratic renewal.

Democracy, the Courts, and the Liberal State will be of interest to scholars, students, and practitioners interested in comparative politics, political theory, and constitutional law and history.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York; London
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages222
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 9780367200329
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Innovations in Political Theory


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