The Expressive Function of Constitutional Amendment Rules

57 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2013 Last revised: 6 Aug 2014

See all articles by Richard Albert

Richard Albert

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government; Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo; Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas; Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho; São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP; Reichman University - Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Harry Radziner School of Law; University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; Airlangga University; Yale University; Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai

Date Written: July 20, 2013

Abstract

The current scholarly focus on informal amendment has obscured the continuing relevance of formal amendment rules. In this Article, I return our attention to formal amendment in order to show that formal amendment rules – not formal amendments but formal amendment rules themselves – perform an underappreciated function: to express constitutional values. Drawing from national constitutions, in particular the Canadian, South African, German and United States Constitutions, I illustrate how constitutional designers may deploy formal amendment rules to create a formal constitutional hierarchy that reflects special political commitments. That formal amendment rules may express constitutional values is both a clarifying and complicating contribution to the study of formal amendment rules. It clarifies the study of formal amendment rules by showing that formal amendment rules may serve a function that scholars have yet to attribute to them. Yet it complicates the study of formal amendment rules by showing that the constitutional text alone cannot prove whether the constitutional values expressed in formal amendment rules represent authentic or inauthentic political commitments.

Keywords: Constitutional Amendment, Formal Amendment, Informal Amendment, Comparative Constitutional Law, Canadian Constitution, German Basic Law, South African Constitution, United States Constitution, Constitutional Design, Constitutional Values

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard, The Expressive Function of Constitutional Amendment Rules (July 20, 2013). 59 McGill Law Journal 225 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2296380

Richard Albert (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512.213.1113 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.utexas.edu/faculty/richard-albert

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government ( email )

College of Liberal Arts
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo ( email )

Facultad de Derecho
Av. Samborondón 5
Samborondón, 092301
Ecuador

HOME PAGE: http://uees.edu.ec/postgrado/postgrado-derecho

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

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://www.uexternado.edu.co/derecho

São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP

R. Rocha, 233, Bela Vista
São Paulo, 01330-000
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://direitosp.fgv.br

Reichman University - Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Harry Radziner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

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

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

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://commonlaw.uottawa.ca

Airlangga University

Dharmawangsa Dalam Selatan
Surabaya, East Java 60286
Indonesia

HOME PAGE: http://www.unair.ac.id

Yale University

493 College St
New Haven, CT CT 06520
United States

Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai ( email )

2nd Floor, CETTM MTNL Building, Technology Street
Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai 400076
Maharashtra
India

HOME PAGE: http://mnlumumbai.edu.in/vaf.php

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
497
Abstract Views
5,243
Rank
106,096
PlumX Metrics