Mandatory pre-enactment review of legislation; or should only one government branch be responsible for the protection of rights in the United States?
This paper focuses on pre-enactment review of legislation as a constitutional tool for the protection of recognised rights. The paper first makes the distinction between strong- and weak-form judicial review, in order to analyse how pre-enactment review can be practiced within each constitutional model. Two countries are first looked at to illustrate the two models: the United States for strong-form review, and New Zealand for weak-form review. The absence of any formal pre-enactment review in the United States is noted, and evaluated through a more in-depth assessment of congressional practice. This observation leads to the main proposal of the paper: that pre-enactment review should be made mandatory in the United States. A comparative assessment is then made in order to discuss the proposal. The relevant constitutional practices in Australia, Canada and Japan are outlined. These comparative assessments are used to further delineate the appropriate form that mandatory pre-enactment review of legislation could take in the United States.