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Constitutional Transition and the Travail of Judges 1

Constitutional Transition and the Travail of Judges

The Courts of South Korea

About the book

This book looks at the history of the courts in South Korea from 1945 to the contemporary period. It sets forth the evolution of the judicial process and jurisprudence in the context of the nation’s political and constitutional transitions. The focus is on constitutional authoritarianism in the 1970s under President Park Chung Hee, when judges faced a positivist crisis as their capacity to protect individual rights and restrain the government was impaired by the constitutional language. Caught between the contending duties of implementing the law and pursuing justice, the judges adhered to formal legal rationality and preserved the fundamental constitutional order, which eventually proved essential in the nation’s democratization in the late 1980s. Addressing both democratic and authoritarian rule of law, this volume prompts fresh debate on judicial restraint and engagement in comparative perspectives.

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About the author

Marie Seong-Hak Kim specializes in legal history and comparative law. Originally trained as a sixteenth-century French historian, she has during the last twenty years focused her research on comparative history of Korean, Japanese, and French law. She is the recipient of the National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship, the Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant, the Academy of Korean Studies Research Fellowship, and the Japan Foundation Research Fellowship. She was a fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, Institut d’études avancées, in France (2011-2012). In 2013-2014, she was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in Wassenaar. Most recently, she was a EURIAS and Marie Curie Fellow of the European Union at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Study (2016-2017). As a native of Korea, she graduated from Ewha University in Seoul. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota and J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. She is a member of the Minnesota Bar since 1995.