In the era of ‘democratic backsliding’, the judiciary, with the constitutional or supreme court at its helm, has been one of the prime targets. This attack comes against the backdrop of the liberal constitutionalist presumption that the independence of the judiciary is indispensable to checks and balances and that the judiciary, acting as the guardian of the constitution, is required to counteract the excesses of democracy.
Digging deeper into this presumption, this conference raises the following questions: Can the risk of the abuse of power by constitutional actors be successfully mitigated by shifting authority from one institution to another? Can an empowered judiciary transform a ‘rule of constitutional law guarded by courts’ into a ‘rule of judges’ or ‘judicial governance’? What are the politics of judiciaries and how does it fit within the broader political context of the state? Is faith in the judiciary misplaced and should one look elsewhere when faced with an illiberal onslaught?
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