IN COUNTRIES WITH A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION, the reach of judicial power is almost unlimited—it is only in the wisdom of its exercise that the balance of a written constitution is maintained.
Judge Thijmen Koopmans from the Netherlands—a judge reared in the civil law—was once asked how it was that in its interpretative role, that great transnational court on which he sat (the European Court of Justice) had gone much further than the text of the Treaty of Rome, which established that court. The answer he gave was disarmingly frank. He said:
What the Luxembourg Court has done is a common phenomenon of all courts, national and international. There is a natural tendency for judges to write a larger role for themselves.
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