Antoine Garapon

The Guardian of Promises Justice and Democracy Preface by Paul Ricoeur. Publication date : February 1, 1996

The multiplying cases, the explosion of litigations, the sensational trials which catch the attention of the public : all are evidence of a growth in power of the judicial system, which we expect to be, at the same time, the arbiter of morals, the guarantee of public morality and responsible for the salvation of the people. But why don’t we ask what things it cannot provide ? Isn’t the idea of a judicial democracy just an illusion, which serves to hide serious problems ? The power of the judicial system is more worrying than exciting. It is an indicator of the discreditation of the State at the same time as a reduction in social cohesion. In the face of the fragility of democratic society, this book is a thorough reflection on the exercise of public power, affirming that the real role of the judge is not to take the place of the politic, but to diffuse the risk of democratic implosion by remaining the guardian of the promises at the very heart of republican laws.

Antoine Garapon, a former judge and member of the editorial team of the journal Esprit, is the head of the Institute of Advanced Judicial Studies.