Regulating Political Risks

9 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2010 Last revised: 17 Sep 2010

Date Written: September 2, 2010


This is a response to Bruce Ackerman’s Tanner Lectures, “The Decline and Fall of the American Republic,” delivered at Princeton University on April 7-9, 2010. I suggest a framework for clarifying and evaluating Ackerman’s claims: constitutions and other instruments of public law can be understood as devices for regulating political risks. Many of the standard tools of risk regulation analysis can be used, with appropriate modifications, to analyze political risks and to evaluate the institutions that attempt to manage those risks. Given this framework, I suggest that Ackerman’s central claims and concerns are inconsistent or ill-defined.

Suggested Citation

Vermeule, Adrian, Regulating Political Risks (September 2, 2010). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 10-43, Available at SSRN: or

Adrian Vermeule (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts
Griswold 500
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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