Litigated conflict over fundamental rights: A static model

William C. Bunting


This article introduces a static, within-country, game-theoretic model of litigated conflict over fundamental rights. The static model suggests that increased judicial interference in the determination of fundamental rights through democratic elections is never social welfare-increasing, even if judicial and political biases run in opposite directions (i.e., if the judicial process is biased in favor of one interest group and the political process is biased in favor of an ideologically-opposed interest group). In addition, the analysis identifies a set of parameters where social welfare increases if the extent to which the litigated conflict over fundamental rights in the society is constitutionalized is decreased (i.e., if litigation effort becomes more expensive and/or less effective). A few real-world examples of the implications of this static analysis are examined, including gun control and the possible future reconstitution of the judiciary in Syria.


Conflict; litigation; constitutional rights

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