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Gerald L. Neuman, Anti-Ashwander: Constitutional Litigation as a First Resort in France, 43 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 15 (2010).

Abstract: France joins the mainstream of Western constitutionalism by permitting individuals to challenge statutes in force that violate their constitutional rights. The Republic has abandoned its prior model of limited review and seeks to reinvigorate a constitutional culture to which citizens have had insufficient access. The pendulum has swung surprisingly far: the new procedures require the Conseil Constitutionnel to decide upon the constitutionality of a statute even if the case could easily have been resolved on treaty grounds, such as European human rights law. The unnecessary adjudication of constitutional questions was found necessary to restore the importance of the national constitution in a system generously infused with transnational human rights. The widely held perception that treaty law has crowded out constitutional law makes the recent developments in France a useful example for exploring the relationship between constitutional rights and human rights regimes. This essay explains the new reform, which creates a system for for their advice on issues addressed in this essay.