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Fragile Democracies
Contested Power in the Era of Constitutional Courts

$35.99 (G)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Election Law and Democracy

  • Date Published: June 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107654549

$ 35.99 (G)
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  • Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the democratic ascendency of the post-Soviet era is under severe challenge. While fragile democracies in Eastern Europe, Africa, and East Asia face renewed threats, the world has witnessed the failed democratic promises of the Arab Spring. What lessons can be drawn from these struggles? What conditions or institutions are needed to prevent the collapse of democracy? This book argues that the most significant antidote to authoritarianism is the presence of strong constitutional courts. Distinct in the third wave of democratization, these courts serve as a bulwark against vulnerability to external threats as well as internal consolidation of power. Particular attention is given to societies riven by deep divisions of race, religion, or national background, for which the courts have become pivotal actors in allowing democracy to take root.

    • Focuses on the often-overlooked role of constitutional courts in transitional democracies
    • Identifies the numerous challenges to democracies emerging from authoritarian rule, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe
    • Broad international focus investigates courts in Argentina, Albania, India, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States, among many others
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Samuel Issacharoff's new book is a major contribution to a burgeoning literature on the ways in which courts can protect and improve what the author calls "fragile democracies" … an ambitious and wide-ranging achievement, and one that will guide the direction of work on judicial role in non-consolidated democracies for years to come."
    David E. Landau, International Journal of Constitutional Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107654549
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the burden of modern democracy
    Part I. Militant Democracy:
    1. The American paradox
    2. The boundaries of democracy
    3. Types of threats
    4. Responses to antidemocratic threats
    5. Judging militant democracy
    Part II. Competitive Democracy:
    6. Giving up power
    7. The promise of constitutional democracy
    8. Transition in South Africa
    9. The era of constitutional courts
    10. The constitutional bargain
    11. Can law protect democracy?
    12. Constitutionalism in the time of fragile democracies
    Epilogue: democratic objectives.

  • Author

    Samuel Issacharoff, New York University School of Law
    Samuel Issacharoff is the Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law. A pioneer in the field of law of the political process, he is the author of more than 100 articles, books, and other academic works, including the seminal The Law of Democracy, 4th edition (with Pamela S. Karlan and Richard H. Pildes, 2012). Issacharoff is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Samuel Issacharoff on what inspired him to write, courtesy of NYU School of Law

Professor Samuel Issacharoff discusses "Fragile Democracies”, courtesy of NYU School of Law

Professor Samuel Issacharoff on South Africa as an example of fragile democracy, courtesy of NYU School of Law

Professor Samuel Issacharoff on the Arab Spring and his book, "Fragile Democracies”, courtesy of NYU School of Law

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