Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Very little is known about the role that courts play in the total political system of a nation. In two recent works Professors Walter Murphy and Joseph Tanenhaus have centered attention on this question and have isolated some of the major functions of courts and developed several working hypotheses concerning these functions. They suggest that one of the major functions of constitutional courts consists of "defining the rules of the political game and determining the boundaries of authority between competing public officials as well as the boundaries between governmental authority and individual liberty." In approving or disapproving the acts of governmental bodies, the court performs the additional function of legitimizer.