Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds

South Africa and the United States


The South African Constitutional Court has issued internationally prominent decisions abolishing the death penalty, enforcing socio-economic rights, allowing gay marriage and promoting equality. These decisions are striking given the country's apartheid past and the absence of a grand human rights tradition. By contrast, the US Supreme Court has generally ruled more conservatively on similar questions. This book examines the Constitutional Court in detail to determine how it has functioned during South Africa's transition and compares its rulings to those of the US Supreme Court on similar rights issues. The book also analyzes the scholarly debate about the Constitutional Court taking place in South Africa. It furthermore addresses the arguments of those international scholars who have suggested that constitutional courts do not generally bring about social change. In the end, the book highlights a transformative pragmatic method of constitutional interpretation - a method the US Supreme Court could employ.
  • Cambridge University Press; March 2009
  • ISBN 9780511512629
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds
  • Author: Mark S. Kende
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'This book provides a perceptive examination and critique of important areas of the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court. Professor Kende uses the South African decisions as a prism for examining the case law of courts of other democratic nations and especially the United States Supreme Court. It provides important new insights into many areas of concern to scholars, judges, practitioners and students.' Richard J. Goldstone, Former Justice of the South African Constitutional Court