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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 141383 Find in a Library
Journal: Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1992)  Pages:85-92
Author(s): T W Merrill
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Some institutional factors that vary across cultures are identified in an effort to determine how individual liberties are protected.
Abstract: Three factors appear to make the most difference to the robustness of individual liberties. One factor is the extent and health of a system of private property rights. The diffusion of economic power works to diffuse political power with the result that individual liberty flourishes without monolithic political power to suppress it. A second important institutional factor is a government divided either vertically by federalism or horizontally by separation of powers, or both. An independent judiciary enforcing a bill of rights is the third significant institutional factor. This serves as a further road block to majoritarian impulses toward repression. These three institutional factors that work to protect individual rights possess important interactive as well as independent effects. Clearly, it is preferable to have a system of divided government and a bill of rights enforced by the judiciary rather than only one of these institutions. At times, one of these mechanisms may fail and the other is needed to provide protection. 30 footnotes
Main Term(s): Bill of Rights; Legislative impact
Index Term(s): Economic influences; Law enforcement; Political influences; Social conditions
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