The politics of constitutional review in Germany



© Georg Vanberg 2005 and Cambridge University Press, 2009. Constitutional courts have emerged as central institutions in many advanced democracies. This book investigates the sources and the limits of judicial authority, focusing on the central role of public support for judicial independence. The empirical sections of the book illustrate the theoretical argument in an in-depth study of the German Federal Constitutional Court, including statistical analysis of judicial decisions, case studies, and interviews with judges and legislators. The book's major finding is that the interests of governing majorities, prevailing public opinion, and the transparency of the political environment exert a powerful influence on judicial decisions. Judges are influenced not only by jurisprudential considerations and their policy preferences, but also by strategic concerns. By highlighting this dimension of constitutional review, the book challenges the contention that high court justices are largely unconstrained actors as well as the notion that constitutional courts lack democratic legitimacy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vanberg, G

Published Date

  • January 1, 2004

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 193

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0521836476

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780521836470

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9780511510427

Citation Source

  • Scopus