Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Constitutional Amendment Rules: A Comparative Perspective

COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Tom Ginsburg, ed., Edward Elgar, 2011

U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 347

20 Pages Posted: 9 May 2011  

Rosalind Dixon

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 6, 2011

Abstract

Constitutional amendment rules are now a near universal feature of national constitutions, yet their function remains largely under-theorized. This chapter thus uses a comparative perspective to explore a number of different functions, as well as dangers, to formal procedures for constitutional amendment. It notes, for example, the historical role played by constitutional amendment procedures in Canada, India, South Africa and Australia in: (i) formalizing, or legalizing, major constitutional revisions or changes; (ii) allowing a polity to ‘update’ of various specific constitutional structures or procedure; and (iii) allowing legislatures to engage in more effective forms of ‘dialogue’ with courts, by both jump-starting new judicial interpretations of a constitution and trumping existing judicial interpretations. It also explores the dangers of overly flexible amendment, from the perspective of the role of constitutions in promoting valuable forms of political (pre-) commitment, settlement, and minority rights protection. In addition, the chapter concludes by providing a concise summary, and critique, of the existing empirical literature on the actual determinants of the difficulty of constitutional amendment, both cross-nationally as well as within the US.

Suggested Citation

Dixon, Rosalind, Constitutional Amendment Rules: A Comparative Perspective (May 6, 2011). COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Tom Ginsburg, ed., Edward Elgar, 2011; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 347. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1833634 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1833634

Rosalind Dixon (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Paper statistics

Downloads
581
Rank
37,912
Abstract Views
2,519