This book is the first to compare the freedoms and protections of members of the United States Congress with those of Britain's Parliament. Placing legislative privilege in historical context, Josh Chafetz explores how and why legislators in Britain and America have been granted special privileges in five areas: jurisdictional conflicts between the courts and the legislative houses, freedom of speech, freedom from civil arrest, contested elections, and the disciplinary powers of the houses. Legislative privilege is a crucial component of the relationship between a representative body and the other participants in government, including the people. In recounting and analyzing the remarkable story of how parliamentary government emerged and evolved in Britain and how it crossed the Atlantic, Chafetz illuminates a variety of important constitutional issues, including the separation of powers, the nature of representation, and the difference between written and unwritten constitutionalism. This book will inspire in readers a much greater appreciation for the rise and triumph of democracy.
Josh Chafetz is a student at Yale Law School where he is an editor for the Yale Law & Policy Review and the Yale Law Journal. He received his doctorate in politics from Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He has written for the New York Times Book Review, New Republic, Commentary, Weekly Standard, and other journals. He lives in New Haven.