"I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)": International Judicial Dialogue and the Muses—Reflections on the Perils and the Promise of International Judicial Dialogue
Judges in Contemporary Democracy: An International Conversation. Edited by Robert Badinter & Stephen Breyer. New York and London: New York University Press. 2004. Pp. ix, 317. $55.
Proponents of international judicial dialogue would do well to read, and reflect upon, the conversations chronicled in Judges in Contemporary Democracy. In a lucid and candid series of interlocutions, five preeminent constitutional jurists and one highly regarded constitutional theorist ponder some of the most difficult questions about the role of a judge on a constitutional court. In particular, the participants—including Stephen Breyer (Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States), Robert Badinter (former President of the Constitutional Council of France), Antonio Cassese (former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), Dieter Grimm (former Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany), Gil Carlos Rodriguez Iglesias (President, Court of Justice of the European Communities), and Ronald Dworkin (Professor of Law at New York University, Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, and formerly Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University)—consider the countermajoritarian problem identified by Alexander Bickel. In a democratic society, why should judges have the final say when judges lack the democratic mandate enjoyed by executive and legislative branch officials? Why do the other branches of government—to say nothing of average citizens—accept judicial decisions that invalidate legislative or executive actions? The participants posit a creeping “judicialization” of democratic government, in which the political branches call upon judges to undertake broader and broader responsibilities.