This response will be based on Sujit Choudhry’s expertise in the area of constitution-building and democracy-building, and on the proliferation of constitutional courts in particular. Prof. Choudhry has already read the book in full and provided a blurb on the book’s Cambridge Press webpages stating: “Tom Gerald Daly’s The Alchemists is an important contribution to the growing comparative constitutional law of democracy, and takes the literature in exciting new directions. By examining in detail the ‘democracy-building’ jurisprudence of the Brazilian Supreme Court, and the complex interplay between regional human rights courts and national constitutional courts, especially in Latin America, The Alchemists raises a host of important questions and insights that will spark many scholarly conversations.”
This response will be based on David Landau’s expertise in the area of constitution-building and democracy-building, and on constitutional courts in particular. Prof. Landau has already read the book in full and provided a blurb on the book’s Cambridge Press webpages stating: “Comparative constitutionalists, political scientists, and policymakers have recently shown great faith in the work of courts in new democracies. Anchored by a rich case study of Brazil and drawing on a wide range of comparative evidence, The Alchemists is not only an important caution pushing back against this trend, but also provides a thoughtful map of the ways in which domestic and international courts might work towards a more achievable role conception. Scholars of courts and democratization processes will benefit immensely from grappling with Tom Gerald Daly’s arguments.”
This response will be based on Dr Hailbronner’s expertise in comparative constitutional law, focused on Europe and Africa, and on her core research concerning the development of German constitutionalism and the development of the Federal Constittutional Court’s extensive authority. This is a central theme in The Alchemists book, which argues that the German experience laid a template from 1951 onwards which has influenced the establishment of, and high expectations placed on, constitutional courts in post-authoritarian democracies worldwide.
This response will be based on Dr Sanchez-Urribarri’s extensive research on comparative constitutional law and politics, and on the conditions that explain judicial empowerment, the politicization of courts and sound judicial reform practices across different political contexts, in Latin American states in particular (including Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Costa Rica), as well as European states such as Russia and Ukraine. Dr Sanchez-Urribarri’s response will add to the comparative design of the panel, as well as reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of The Alchemists book itself.
Tom Daly will provide a considered response to all 4 panellists’ critiques, focusing on the key themes, insights and challenges posed by each panellist. Panellists will be encouraged to engage in frank discussion of the demerits and merits, omissions and oversights in the author’s argument in The Alchemists book, as well as the unanswered questions the book poses. The overall aim is to produce a cutting-edge, frank and stimulating debate on the role of courts as democracy-builders. This issue continues to grow in relevance, as evidenced by the recent and proposed establishment of constitutional courts in states such as Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka, and the growing challenges facing regional human rights courts in Europe, the Americas, and Africa to support democratisation processes.