Singapore's Constitutionalism: A Model, But of What Sort?

23 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2015

Date Written: October 26, 2015


A response to Prof. Mark Tushnet's article, "Authoritarian Constitutionalism" in 100 Cornell L. Rev. 391 (2015) agreeing that we need to think about constitutionalism as a spectrum and not a simple binary proposition, but asserting that there are three crucial dimensions to consider in constructing a typology of the varieties of constitutionalism. One would measure the degree to which power is limited and contained; a second would measure the degree and extent of popular consent and legitimacy behind the government, and a third would evaluate the procedures and process by which law is made and enforced - a measure of the rule of law divorced from deeper commitments to the ideals of liberal constitutionalism. The article asserts that we need to pay close attention to the difference between the requirements for a constitution-al state, and those for one that subscribes to constitutional-ism. The Republic of Singapore provides a compelling case study to illustrate these differences.

Keywords: constitutionalism, rule of law, Singapore, authoritarian constitutionalism, comparative constitutionalism, comparative law

JEL Classification: N40, N45

Suggested Citation

Silverstein, Gordon, Singapore's Constitutionalism: A Model, But of What Sort? (October 26, 2015). Cornell Law Review, Vol. 100, 2015, p. 1. Available at SSRN: or

Gordon Silverstein (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
203-432-4640 (Phone)

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