Quote of the week

Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.

Timothy Snyder
The New York Times
14 November 2011

Human rights lawyer Geoff Budlender SC says courts should be seen as institutions that strengthen rather than undermine democracy, notes a Business Day report. Budlender said that in a participatory democracy, the courts played a crucial role as a ‘critical mechanism of accountability’ to the people. The Constitution gave the executive the function of developing and implementing policy, but this did not mean that every policy could claim a genuine democratic mandate, he said. According to the report, Budlender said his four years’ experience as a civil servant had shown him ‘it was unelected officials like me who made many of the most significant decisions’ on policy. The theory that the executive had ‘a monopoly of wisdom on policy questions, based on a democratic mandate, strikes me as somewhat remote from reality’, he said. Budlender added if courts were to live up to their role in democratising society, they needed to make judgments that did not undermine the other constitutional imperative – that the government should be able to govern. – Business Day

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