American Journal of Comparative Law
Conseil constitutionnel, French law, comparative law, judiciary
A dispute burns across the landscape of French constitutional law regarding the juridical nature of the French constitutional "Supreme Court", the Conseil constitutionnel: is it a court? Both French and American scholars have claimed that, despite superficial similarities between the U.S. Supreme Court and the French Conseil constitutionnel, the American system of judicial review "can have no counterpart in the French system", that French legal and political theory is inconstistent with an effective supreme court, that there is "no possibility" that the French and American systems could surmount this "major difference", and that the Conseil is simply not a "true court". It follows that the continuing debate over the Conseil's nature has three main sources: first, factual confusion; secondly, conceptual confusion, and thirdly, the political evolution and strategies of the French Republic.
Michael Henry Davis, The Law/Politics Distinction, the French Conseil Constitutionnel, and the U.S. Supreme Court, 34 American Journal of Comparative Law 45 (1986)