What is the Purpose of a Constitution?

by Justin Kempf A review of Anti-Constitutional Populism edited by Martin Krygier, Adam Czarnota, and Wojciech Sadurski and Constitutionalism and a Right to Effective Government? edited by Vicki C. Jackson and Yasmin Dawood. The Purpose of a Constitution Among the most useful resources for those concerned about democracy is found at Constitute. It brings together 202... Continue Reading →

Constitution Makers on Constitution Making: Hassen Ebrahim on South Africa’s Constitution

Hassen Ebrahim was Executive Director of the Constitutional Assembly of South Africa, and is an advisor on constitution building. He participated in the construction of South Africa's constitution. He is the author of the chapter "Decisions, Deadlocks and Deadlines in Making South Africa’s Constitution" in the forthcoming book Constitution Makers on Constitution Making.   Become... Continue Reading →

Chile and its Constitution

Become a Patron! Order Dan Slater and Joseph Wong's From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia.  Make a one-time Donation to Democracy Paradox. Chile and its Constitution On Sunday, Chile rejected a proposed constitution after three years of protests, negotiating, and hard work from those involved. Nonetheless, it lost in an overwhelming vote... Continue Reading →

When the Law Legitimizes Democratic Backsliding

Become a Patron! Preorder Laura Gamboa's Resisting Backsliding: Opposition Strategies against the Erosion of Democracy here. When the Law Legitimizes Democratic Backsliding Typically we think democratic breakdowns involve coups or civil wars. However, democratic erosion "happens over time. It takes years for an executive with hegemonic aspirations to succeed in eroding democracy." Moreover, democratic backsliding frequently happens... Continue Reading →

Meaning and Purpose in the Constitution

Become a Patron! Meaning and Purpose in the Constitution Last week the American Supreme Court made two rulings on individual rights. In one case the court reversed its position on constitutional rights for women. Meanwhile, in another case they affirmed new rights to carry firearms in public. The constitution does not mention either of these... Continue Reading →

Joseph Fishkin on the Constitution, American History, and Economic Inequality

Joseph Fishkin is a Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. He is the coauthor (along with William E. Forbath) of The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy.   Become a Patron! For many Americans, for the first many generations really up through the mid 20th century, the constitutional order seemed... Continue Reading →

The Case for Constitutional Politics

The Constitution has Become Political By now the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer has become old news. But the political conflict over his successor has only just begun. Republicans have made the control of the Supreme Court a key part of their political agenda. Senator Lindsey Graham recently noted in resignation the Democrats have the... Continue Reading →

Donald Horowitz on the Formation of Democratic Constitutions

Donald Horowitz joins the podcast to discuss the formation of constitutions in democracies. Donald is the James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus at Duke University. His most recent book is Constitutional Processes and Democratic Commitment.   The most beautiful thing that happened in Indonesia, by the way, which was a polarized society along... Continue Reading →

Constitutions and Democracy

Constitutions In October 2020 Chileans made the monumental decision to rewrite their constitution. Many view this as a democratizing event despite the fact that Chile democratized in 1990 with the negotiated transition from the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Nevertheless, the transition to democracy was widely considered as incomplete at the time, because the Pinochet... Continue Reading →

Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy

It is common to qualify democratic governance as not simply democracy but liberal democracy. This is natural because freedom has been associated with democracy dating back to the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. It is difficult to imagine an illiberal democracy which retained the foundations of democratic governance within an authoritarian or even totalitarian context.... Continue Reading →

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