Constitutional Experiments: Representing Future Generations Through Submajority Rules
22 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 4, 2015
The purpose of this paper is to propose and consider two new constitutional devices, the aim of which is to give minorities of legislators a political tool to represent and protect the interests of future generations. The common denominator of the proposed reforms is that they represent examples of submajority rules that grant defined minorities of legislators certain procedural rights. The first device empowers a minority of at least one-third of the legislators to demand that the final enactment of a law proposal should be delayed until a new election has been held, if they believe that the law in question can inflict serious harm upon posterity. The second implies that a minority of at least one-third of the legislators can require a referendum on a bill that can have a serious adverse impact on the living conditions of future people. I will argue that these submajority rules can serve as useful means to encourage more future-oriented public deliberations and decisions. Although the proposals face some important problems, it is argued that they can be defended on the basis of central ideas and ideals in recent theory of deliberative democracy.
Keywords: Democracy, future generations, political representation, submajority rules
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