Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 26 (4):733-751 (2006)

Jeremy Waldron objects to judicial review of legislation on the ground that it effectively accords the views of a few judges ‘superior voting weight’ to those of ordinary citizens. This objection overlooks that representative government does the same. This article explores the concept of political representation and argues that delegates may be institutionally bound to heed the convictions of their constituents, but they are not their proxies. Rather, they are best viewed as their trustees. They ought to decide according to what they think is in their constituents’ interest. In this sense, a strong element of independent judgment is involved in their institutional role. So, if we have no problem with assigning their views superior voting weight, it should not be thought particularly objectionable to give judges the same power. What is more, once we acknowledge the independence they enjoy, the question arises whether and by what institutional means we ought to constrain and check their power. The judiciary is well suited effectively to carry out this supervisory function, because it is immune from political pressure by the legislature that would reduce it to its instrument. Hence, in some cases the institution of judicial review is morally justified
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DOI 10.1093/ojls/gql029
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