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American Journal of Comparative Law


judiciary, comparative law, judges


In 1921, Edouard Lambert, a professor of law at Lyon specializing in comparative studies and founder of an Institute of Comparative Law there, published a book, Le Gouvernement des judges et la lutte contra la legislation sociale aux Etats-Unis, thus singlehandedly creating the phrase, a "government of judges", to denote a truly unconstrained system of judicial review which could not be limited even by constitutional amendment. The phrase quickly entered the parlance of French public law and even that of popular culture, deriving much of its force, no doubt, from the historical French aversion to a strong judiciary, eventually becoming a veritable "catch-phrase". Over the past sixty-five years, it has acquired a diversity of meanings ranging from, most broadly, any judicial constraint upon executive or legislative action, to, most narrowlyo only those judicial tribunals in which judges lack sufficient professional training. To define the phrase, different writers at different times have chosen different parts