Four Unconstitutional Constitutions and their Democratic Foundations

26 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2016  

Richard Albert

Boston College - Law School; Yale University - Law School; Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho; University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law

Date Written: October 28, 2016

Abstract

The present fascination with the global phenomenon of an unconstitutional constitutional amendment has left open the question whether a constitution can be unconstitutional. Invalidating a single amendment for violating the architectural core of a constitution is an extraordinary action, but it is occurring with increasing frequency around the world. But to call an entire constitution unconstitutional, however, seems different in both kind and degree. In this Article, I illustrate and evaluate four different conceptions of an unconstitutional constitution. Each conception draws from a different constitution currently in force around the world, specifically the Constitutions of Canada, Mexico, South Africa and the United States. What unites all four conceptions of an unconstitutional constitution is that each instantiation, despite its unconstitutionality in different senses of the concept, nonetheless traces its roots to democratic foundations. The strength of these foundations, however, varies as to each.

Keywords: Constitutional Design, Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment, Constitution-Making, Constitutional Change, Constitutional Amendment, Canadian Constitution, Mexican Constitution, United States Constitution, South African Constitution, Certification Decision

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard, Four Unconstitutional Constitutions and their Democratic Foundations (October 28, 2016). 50 Cornell International Law Journal (2017), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2860442

Richard Albert (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02459-1163
United States
617.552.3930 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.richardalbert.com

Yale University - Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.yale.edu

Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho

Calle 12 # 1-17 este
Calle 12 0 83
Bogota D.C, Cundinamarca 3456
Colombia

HOME PAGE: http://190.7.110.123/irj/portal/anonymous/fac_derecho

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.idc.ac.il/en/schools/law/pages/home.aspx

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