Week 12 (Mar 30) Judicial Politics in Europe
Professor Jordi Diez
March 30, 2017
Vanberg, G. 2000. “Establishing Judicial Independence in West Germany” Comparative Politics 333-53.
- Overall, I thought this article was very well researched. I think Vanberg definitely proved the U.S
example is very generalizable, in that Madison’s arguments hold weight because they really can
be applied globally. I think Vanberg did a good job proving how his arguments apply in Germany
but had this article been written later it would have benefited by comparing a country such as
Hungary because the power of the mass public and media is obviously why Orban is so
concerned with censoring it. I think the questions raised in Vanberg’s conclusion would be very
interesting applied in Hungary.
- When comparing this article to Sweet’s, Vanberg clearly demonstrated the role of the media
plays a pivotal role in constitutional changes due to the reaction of the mass public. I think this
seriously weakens Sweet’s article because she fails to clarify the different spheres of law and
politics in the way Vanberg illustrates. I think Vanberg proved law and politics and intertwined
because the German government at the time was convinced and too intimidated by the role of
the media to attack the FCC. I think Vanberg clearly demonstrated the government weighed the
prod and cons and took public support into serious consideration before taking such bold
Stone Sweet, A. 2007. “The Politics of Constitutional Review in France and Europe” International
Journal of Constitutional Law 5(1): 69-92.
- I did not really like this article because I think the research question is impossible to answer.
First of all, if we’re saying there are no definitive answers in political science then there is never
going to be a definitive, globally applicable answer to the question is judicial review law or
politics? I think the conclusion was written poorly because Sweet seems to contradict herself.
Sweet claims she cannot distinguish the difference between law and politics when it comes to
constitutional adjudication. I don’t think they are distinguishable either, I think law and politics
are very intertwined especially when it comes to constitutional adjudication. I agree with
Sweet’s critiques in that she does not think judge’s opinions are significant. Sweet seems to
ignore the political factors that can completely re-shape the constitution. In the case of
Hungary, political factors were extremely relevant. Orban would have never been elected with a
68% of the voting ma