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6 The Supreme Court and the Constitution

From: The Irish Supreme Court: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

Brice Dickson

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 February 2024

This chapter focuses first on the power of the President of Ireland to refer draft Bills to the Supreme Court for review under Article 26 of the Constitution. It analyses the most recent instances of this practice and queries whether the ‘one judgment’ rule and the ‘immutability’ rule (whereby a decision that a Bill is constitutional can never again be challenged in court) are necessary or desirable. The chapter then looks at how the Supreme Court has—or has not—extended the reach of constitutionalism into the realm of socio-economic rights, in particular in situations where the expenditure of public money is a key issue. This moves into a section on unenumerated rights and the natural law theory of rights. The chapter acknowledges that significant steps have been taken by the Supreme Court to develop the 1937 Constitution but suggests that significant opportunities to do more have been missed.

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