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Elections, Public Awareness, and the Efficacy of Constitutional Review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Jay Krehbiel*
West Virginia University
Contact the author at


Scholars have long recognized the importance of timing in political decision making. In this article, I consider the potential for the strategic timing of court decisions involving the constitutional review of statutes. As courts lack the ability to directly implement their decisions, scholars have identified an attentive public as invaluable for judicial authority. Building on this literature, I argue that the proximity of a national election increases awareness and thereby creates an environment conducive to the assertive exercise of constitutional review. I then present evidence of the electoral cycle’s effect on decision making at the German Federal Constitutional Court.

Research Article
© 2019 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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