Constitutional Amendment Rules: The Denominator Problem

COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN, Tom Ginsburg ed., 2011

U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 346

31 Pages Posted: 13 May 2011  

Rosalind Dixon

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

Richard Holden

University of Chicago

Date Written: May 13, 2011

Abstract

The difficulty of constitutional amendment, in most contexts, clearly depends on both the formal rules governing amendment and a variety of other factors. This chapter explores the significance one such non-textual factor: the size, or scale, of a polity. It, first, identifies a number of theoretical reasons to think that the “denominator” for constitutional amendment purposes may affect the difficulty of amendment in a jurisdiction; and second, uses an original dataset on constitutional amendments at a state-level in the US, and the size of state legislatures, to show a clear negative relationship between actual amendment denominators and the rate of constitutional amendment, in various US states.

Suggested Citation

Dixon, Rosalind and Holden, Richard, Constitutional Amendment Rules: The Denominator Problem (May 13, 2011). COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN, Tom Ginsburg ed., 2011; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 346. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1840925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1840925

Rosalind Dixon (Contact Author)

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

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Richard Holden

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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