The Right of Public Participation in the Law-Making Process and the Role of the Legislature in the Promotion of this Right
In 2006, the South African Constitutional Court found a constitutional right to participate in the legislative process in the case of Doctors for Life, Case CCT 12/05 (decided 17 August 2006). In this article, we argue that, first, legislation is better when legislators are required to invite and attend to public input, and, second, citizenship is better when legislators are required to invite and attend to public input. Doctors for Life puts South Africa on the road to improving both legislation and citizenship. In the United States, this road is largely untraveled. While rejecting traditional representative democracy as an adequate expression of political participation, Doctors for Life does not go as far as it could in terms of entrenching public participation in the South African legislative process. Nonetheless, it offers a model of an interim place that the United States can consider. The case also offers a model for international human rights exploration in an area of underdeveloped theory, especially in regard to enhancing respect and dignity as aspects of citizenship in a democratic state.
19 Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law 1 (2008).