Book Panel: Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts (OUP, 2020)
Panelists will explore the arguments in Yvonne Tew’s recent book, Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts (Oxford University Press, 2020). The book explores how courts engage in constitutional state-building in aspiring, yet deeply fragile, democracies in Asia. Drawing from the central examples of contemporary Malaysia and Singapore, Tew seeks to explain how courts protect and construct constitutionalism in the context of dominant political parties and transitions to democracy. This book explores the judicial strategies for statecraft that courts can use to entrench constitutional basic structures and to protect rights in a manner that is purposive and proportionate. The account aims not only to illustrate some of the key challenges of the Southeast Asia constitutional context but also to identify themes that resonate in other countries grappling with colonial legacies, histories of authoritarian rule, and societies polarized along racial and religious lines.