Reassessing Militant Democracy Amidst the Global Recession

The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a revival-cum-transformation of militant democracy to guard against emerging threats to fragile democracies. In addition to post-1945 Germany, the paradigmatic examples for how this new militant constitutionalism worked were Turkey (ban of Islamist parties), India (regulation of religious electoral campaigning), and Israel (exclusion of extremist parties). Since then, Turkey, India, and Israel have witnessed significant backsliding by the very same extremist forces the militant courts were attempting to tame. Is it therefore time to reassess militant democratic approaches? At best, were the measures helpful in delaying democratic decline? At worst, did they exacerbate existing cleavages or cause “backlash”? Going forward, are democracies better served by focusing on criminal processes to police violent groups? The paper concludes the (re)assessment by exploring weak form judicial review as a solution for judicial review in uncertain times.