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This volume of essays explores a number of fundamental constitutional law questions in a variety of historical and jurisdictional contexts. The contributions focus on the role to be played by courts and legal principles in the resolution of major political controversies and on the progressive development of constitutional jurisprudence in countries sharing a broadly common law legal tradition. The guiding theme pervading the collection is an attempt to measure the legitimacy of judicial (in-)activism when courts are faced with difficult political choices on matters such as slavery, internment, racism and voting rights, and radical economic policies, and are also confronted with the requirement to attach concrete meanings to such abstract concepts as the separation of powers and the rule of law.