Amending Constitutional Amendment Rules

13 International Journal of Constitutional Law 655 (2015)

Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 336

29 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2014 Last revised: 15 Sep 2017

See all articles by Richard Albert

Richard Albert

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

Date Written: March 9, 2014

Abstract

No part of a constitution is more important than the rules that govern its amendment and its entrenchment against it. Given the important functions served by formal constitutional amendment rules, we might expect constitutional designers to entrench them against ordinary amendment, for instance by requiring a higher-than-usual quantum of agreement for their amendment or by making them altogether unamendable. Yet relatively few constitutional democracies set a higher threshold for formally amending formal amendment rules. In this Article, I demonstrate that existing written and unwritten limits to formally amending formal amendment rules are unsatisfactory, and I offer modest textual entrenchment strategies to insulate formal amendment rules against ordinary formal amendment in constitutional democracies where the constitutional text exerts an appreciable constraint on political actors. I draw from historical, theoretical and comparative perspectives to suggest that two principles — intertemporality and relativity — should guide constitutional designers in designing formal amendment rules in constitutional democracies.

Keywords: Constitutional Amendment, Japanese Constitution, Canadian Constitution, United States Constitution, Equal Suffrage Clause, Unamendability, Constitutional Conventions, Constitutional Change, Entrenchment, Constitutional Design

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard, Amending Constitutional Amendment Rules (March 9, 2014). 13 International Journal of Constitutional Law 655 (2015); Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 336. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2498132

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

Yale University - Law School

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

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

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

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

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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