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Constitutional Justice in France and the United States of America

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  1. The invention of television or a succession of discoveries
    1. The discoveries that introduced the invention of television
    2. The birth of the term "television"
    3. From the mechanical television (1925-1931) to the electric television (1932-1945)
  2. Television in the footsteps of players like the radio
    1. The FCC and Congress: state control
    2. The networks: diffusion
    3. U.S. companies: financing
  3. Television and the American public
    1. Television proved to the Americans
    2. The placing of television sets on the market
    3. Programs
  4. Conclusion

Constitutional Justice is present in France and the United States of America as a part of the rule of law. The primary task of Constitutional Justice is to ensure that laws which comply with the Constitution and fundamental rights are protected. Constitutions were born in recent decades after the collapse of dictatorships. Constitutional Justice is an institutional technique that is provided to ensure the unrestricted supremacy of the constitution. The European model of constitutional justice emerged in Austria and Czechoslovakia after the First World War.

It is the legal philosopher Hans Kelsen, who first made provision for this concept in a constitutional court in Austria in 1920. This power could not be entrusted to the ordinary courts because the plurality of levels of jurisdiction would result in the differences in the interpretation of the Constitution. In France, the success of constitutional justice is recent and dates back only as far as the Fifth Republic. But the phenomenon is not entirely new; it emerged in the early nineteenth century in the United States. The American system of constitutional justice is the oldest in the world.
It was not put down in the constitution of 1787 but entered on the initiative of the courts themselves in 1803 with the judgment of the Marbury v. Madison case.

How do the systems of constitutional justice of the United States of America and France differ from each other? This is explained by drawing on examples from the American, European and French constitutions. It is also important to understand the system as a phenomenon that now affects most of the contemporary political systems in the world.

The composition and mode of constitutional justice: The organization of a system to monitor the constitutionality of laws raises two main questions: 1) Who are the judges? 2) What are the procedural techniques to control them?

A. The mode composition of constitutional courts

There are two types of solutions possible and the choice between the two depends on what one feels about the control of the constitutionality of laws. Either one believes that this control is within the normal duties of the judiciary i.e. the constitutional court then merges with other courts of law OR one believes that this is a specific function that must be entrusted to a panel of special judges i.e. a constitutional court then has an independent existence.

The first solution corresponds to a type of organization that is usually referred to as the "American model". In this model, constitutional review is not reserved to the supreme court. Any court, regardless of rank, is entitled to exercise it. Therefore this model is often called the "decentralized" or"Diffused" model to distinguish it from the European systems that reserve this power for a specialized court. In practice, this decentralization is more apparent because it combines with a functional hierarchy.

The judges in France could have recognized their power of control over the law by using the same reasoning as the Americans. But they did not take this step.

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