In Print: Volume 88: Number 6
By David S. Law
88 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1365 (2011)
The Supreme Court of Japan (SCJ), and the Japanese judiciary as a whole, possess a number of institutional and behavioral characteristics that render them worthy of attention for those who study law and courts, judicial politics, or comparative constitutional law. To name but a few, these characteristics include the extensive degree of bureaucratic control that the Japanese judiciary exercises over its own members; the manner in which the organization of the Japanese judiciary combines a tightly run, European-style career judiciary with a decentralized, American-style approach to judicial review that gives all courts the power to strike down laws on constitutional grounds; and the fact that the Supreme Court itself has almost never exercised this power. What the broader scholarly community has mostly lacked, however, is an accessible (English-language) collection of scholarship that explores the SCJ in depth and from a wide variety of perspective—sincluding, not least of all, the perspective of individuals who have actually served on the Court and can speak from personal experience.
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