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After a historical survey of the literature, this chapter puts forward a new analytical scheme to capture variation in comparative judicial review. The earliest, and still relevant, classification developed in the scholarly literature turns on the difference between judicial review of administrative action by the ordinary courts in the English common law and by a special body (Conseil d’Etat) connected to the executive branch in the French droit administratif. This is followed chronologically by the contrast that has been drawn by Robert Kagan and public-choice scholars between the litigious and formal American system of law and public policy and the informal and discretionary European model. The chapter then proposes a new classification based on two competing theories that are deployed by courts: in European jurisdictions, judicial review to safeguard fundamental economic and social rights (the fundamental rights model) and, in the United States, judicial review to safeguard procedural democracy (the ballot-box democracy model). In Europe, the courts employ doctrines such as proportionality and equality to protect economic and social rights in government policymaking; in the United States, the courts impose extensive procedural requirements on public administration to promote democracy when the bureaucracy undertakes policymaking. After considering the historical reasons for these two models of judicial review, the chapter argues that it will be important to investigate them empirically in light of their potential for diffusion to domestic and international jurisdictions.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-50; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-50

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