Proportionality Balancing and Constitutional Governance: A Comparative and Global Approach

ISBN : 9780198841401

Alec Stone Sweet; Jud Mathews
256 ページ
156 x 234 mm

In this book, Alec Stone Sweet and Jud Mathews focus on the law and politics of rights protection in democracies, and in human rights regimes in Europe, the Americas, and Africa. After introducing the basic features of modern constitutions, with their emphasis on rights and judicial review, the authors present a theory of proportionality that explains why constitutional judges embraced it. Proportionality analysis is a highly intrusive mode of judicial supervision: it permits state officials to limit rights, but only when necessary to achieve a sufficiently important public interest. Since the 1950s, virtually every powerful domestic and international court has adopted proportionality analysis as the central method for protecting rights. In doing so, judges positioned themselves to review all important legislative and administrative decisions, and to invalidate them as unconstitutional when such policies fail the proportionality test. The result has been a massive - and global - transformation of law and politics. The book explicates the concepts of 'trusteeship', the 'system of constitutional justice', the 'effectiveness' of rights adjudication, and the 'zone of proportionality'. A wide range of case studies analyse: how proportionality has spread, and variation in how it is deployed; the extent to which the U.S. Supreme Court has evolved and resisted similar doctrines; the role of proportionality in building ongoing 'constitutional dialogues' with the other branches of government; and the importance of the principle to the courts of regional human rights regimes. While there is variance in the intensity of proportionality-based dialogues, such interactions are today at the very heart of governance in the modern constitutional state and beyond.


1 Constitutions, Rights, and Judicial Power
2 Proportionality and Constitutional Governance
3 Emergence and Diffusion
4 All Things in Proportion? The United States
5 Constitutional Dialogues
6 Global Constitutionalism and Transnational Governance
Table of cases


Alec Stone Sweet is Saw Swee Hock Centennial Professor of Law, National University of Singapore, and Senior Research Fellow, the Yale Law School. He is the author of The Birth of Judicial Politics in France, Governing with Judges: Constitutional Politics in Europe, On Law, Politics, and Judicialization, The Judicial Construction of Europe, The Evolution of International Arbitration: Judicialization, Governance, Legitimacy, A Cosmopolitan Legal Order: Kant, Constitutional Justice, and the ECHR, and the co-editor of European Integration and Supranational Governance, The Institutionalization of Europe, and A Europe of Rights, all published by Oxford University Press ; Jud Mathews is an Associate Professor of Law at Penn State Law and a Faculty Affiliate of Penn State's School of International Affairs. His research focuses on constitutional law and administrative law. He is the author of Extending Rights' Reach: Constitutions, Private Law, and Judicial Power (OUP, 2018).