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Constitutions, Law and Judiciary

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1 Constitutions, Law and Judiciary
Week 11

2 Constitutions Classifying Constitutions
-The form of the constitution and status of its rules (whether the constitution is written or unwritten, or codified or uncodified) - The ease with which the constitution can be changed (whether it is rigid or flexible) -The degree to which the constitution is observed in practice (whether it is an effective or nominal constitution) - The content of the constitution and the institutional structure that it establishes (whether it is, for example, monarchical or republican, federal or unitary, or presidential and parliamentary)

3 Constitutions The Purpose of a Constitution is 1- to empower states
The basic function of the constitution is that it marks out the existence of state and makes claim concerning their sphere of independent authority.

4 Constitutions 2-- to establish values and goals
Constitutions invariably embody a broader set of political values, ideals and goals.

5 Constitutions 3- to provide government stability
In allocating duties, powers and functions amongst the various institutions of government, constitutions act as ‘organizational charts’, ‘definitional guides’ or ‘institutional blueprints’. As such, they formalize and regulate the relationships between political bodies and provide a mechanism through which conflicts can be adjudicated and resolved.

6 Constitutions 4- to protect freedom
In liberal democracies it is often taken for granted that the central purpose of a constitution is to constrain government with a view to protecting individual liberty. Certainly, constitutions lay down the relationship between the state and the individual, marking out the respective spheres of government authority and personal freedom.

7 Constitutions 5- to legitimize regimes
Constitutions also are to help build legitimacy.

8 The Law The relationship between law and morality is one of the most complex issues of political science. Law is a distinctive form of social control, backed up by the means of enforcement; it defines what can and what cannot be done. On the other hand, morality is concerned with ethical questions and the difference between right and wrong; it prescribes what should and what should not be done. Moreover, while law has an objective character morality is usually treated as a subjective entity.

9 The Law Much of our understanding of law derives from liberal theory. This portrays law as the essential guarantee of civilized and orderly existence, drawing heavily on social-contract theory. The role of law is to protect each member of society from his or her fellow members, thereby preventing their rights and liberties from being encroached upon.

10 The Law According to liberals law has a neutral character.
It is above politics, and a strict separation between law and politics must be maintained to prevent the law favoring the state over the individual, the rich over the poor, men over women, whites over blacks and so on.

11 The Law Liberal view of law has significant implications for the judiciary. Accordingly, judges must be independent, in the sense that they are above or outside the machinery of government and not subject to political influence.

12 The Law An alternative view of law has been developed by conservatives. They argued that law is linked to order, even to the extend that law and order become a single, fused concept.

13 The Judiciary The Judiciary is the branch of government that is empowered to decide legal disputes. The main function of judges is to adjudicate on the meaning of law, in the sense that they interpret or construct law.

14 The Judiciary Judiciary is also important in international law.
The International Court of Justice, is the judicial tool of the UN. The International Criminal Court and the European Court of Justice are other judicial examples of international law.

15 The Judiciary One of the main characteristics of the judiciary is that judges are strictly independent and nonpolitical actors. Only if they can be above the politics, politics and law would be separated.

16 Are Judges Political? In certain political systems judges became mere functionaries who carried out the political and ideological objective of the regime itself. In other states judges have been expected to observe strict political neutrality.

17 Are Judges Political? Judges may be political in two senses: they may be subject to external bias or to internal bias. Judicial independence is not the only issue, bias may creep in through the values and culture of the judiciary as easily as through external pressure. From this perspective the key factor is not so much how judges are recruited, but who is recruited.

18 Do Judge Make Policy? In practice, judges impose meaning on law through a process of construction that forces them to choose amongst a number of possible meanings or interpretations. In this sense, all law is judge-made law.

19 Do Judge Make Policy? Two factors are crucial here:
The first is the clarity and detail with which law is specified. The second factor is the existence of a codified or written constitution.

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