The Judge in a Democracy

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Princeton University Press, 2006 - Law - 332 pages
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Whether examining election outcomes, the legal status of terrorism suspects, or if (or how) people can be sentenced to death, a judge in a modern democracy assumes a role that raises some of the most contentious political issues of our day. But do judges even have a role beyond deciding the disputes before them under law? What are the criteria for judging the justices who write opinions for the United States Supreme Court or constitutional courts in other democracies? These are the questions that one of the world's foremost judges and legal theorists, Aharon Barak, poses in this book.

In fluent prose, Barak sets forth a powerful vision of the role of the judge. He argues that this role comprises two central elements beyond dispute resolution: bridging the gap between the law and society, and protecting the constitution and democracy. The former involves balancing the need to adapt the law to social change against the need for stability; the latter, judges' ultimate accountability, not to public opinion or to politicians, but to the "internal morality" of democracy.

Barak's vigorous support of "purposive interpretation" (interpreting legal texts--for example, statutes and constitutions--in light of their purpose) contrasts sharply with the influential "originalism" advocated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

As he explores these questions, Barak also traces how supreme courts in major democracies have evolved since World War II, and he guides us through many of his own decisions to show how he has tried to put these principles into action, even under the burden of judging on terrorism.


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Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Purposive Interpretation of Statutes
Purposive Interpretation and Judicial Discretion
Purposive Interpretation and New Textualism
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Executive Reasonableness
Chapter Fifteen

Overruling Precedent
Chapter Seven
Types of Balancing
Chapter Eight
Justiciability and Public Confidence
Chapter Nine
Definition of Activism and SelfRestraint
The Desirability of Activism or SelfRestraint
Chapter Seventeen

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References to this book

Israel since 1980
Guy Ben-Porat
Limited preview - 2008

References from web pages

Table of Contents for Barak, A.: The Judge in a Democracy.
Table of Contents for The Judge in a Democracy by Barak, A., published by Princeton University Press. TOCs/ c8145.html

Legal History Blog: Bork vs Barak on The Judge in a Democracy
Robert H. Bork reviews Aharon Barak, The Judge in a Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2006) in Azure, in a review that is predictable due to the clash ... 2007/ 05/ bork-vs-barak-on-judge-in-democracy.html

Judaism: Bridging the gap
The Judge in a Democracy, by AHARON BARAK, Princeton University Press. In every political campaign, Americans hear a constant condemnation of activist ... p/ articles/ mi_m0411/ is_3-4_55/ ai_n21093790/ print

The Judge in a Democracy Aharon Barak Princeton University Press ...
Downloadable ! Author(s): Jolowicz, J A. 2007 Abstract: No abstract is available for this item a/ cup/ eurrev/ v15y2007i02p265-268_00.html

The Role of the Judge
THE ROLE OF THE JUDGE IN A DEMOCRACY. by Aharon Barak Second "Justice in the World Foundation" Prize. With profound and sincere gratitude, I wish to thank ... info/ rj_barak.htm

Omedia : Politics - Opinions- Enlightened Despot
From Judge Richard Posner’s review on former Chief Justice Aharon Barak’s book “The Judge in a Democracy”: “It is an important document, ... Show_Article.asp?DynamicContentID=2310& MenuID=609

Powell's Books - The Judge in a Democracy by Aharon Barak
"This book offers a plethora of intriguing examples of practical reason in the service of an eclectic mix of justice ethically conceived and of law as a ... partner/ 24626/ biblio/ 9780691120171

Aharon Barak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In 2006, he published "The Judge in a Democracy", an examination of his judicial philosophy, in which he describes the role of a judge, beyond dispute ... wiki/ Aharon_Barak

"Judging Aharon -"
Barak himself has stoked this debate with last year’s publication of “The Judge in a Democracy,” a tidy brief for his distinctive jurisprudence, ... articles/ 11114/

fugitive peace » Blog Archive » Civil rights and the Posner-Barak ...
He wrote in his review of Barak’s book The Judge in a Democracy that Barak had created “a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive ... 2007/ civil-rights-and-the-posner-barak-debate/

About the author (2006)

Aharon Barak is a faculty member at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel, and a visiting professor at Yale Law School. In 1975 he was appointed Attorney General of the State of Israel, becoming Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel in 1978 and serving as President from 1995 until his retirement in 2006. He has also served as a lecturer, professor and Dean of the Law School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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