Temporal Limitations in Constitutional Amendment
21 Review of Constitutional Studies 37 (2016)
28 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2016 Last revised: 14 Sep 2017
Date Written: March 21, 2016
Formal amendment rules are designed to fragment or consolidate power, whether among political parties or government branches, or along ethnic, subnational, or other lines. Time is an understudied and undertheorized dimension along which amendment rules may also fragment or consolidate power. This temporal feature of formal amendment rules entails unique implications for how we understand the formation of constitutional consensus and how we evaluate contemporaneity in amendment ratification. In this article, I apply a comparative perspective to the use of time in formal amendment in order to demonstrate the possibilities for the design of temporal limitations and also to probe the trade-off s between political brinkmanship and contemporaneity in ratification. My larger purpose is to suggest a research agenda for further comparative inquiry into the use of time in the design of formal amendment rules.
Keywords: Constitutional Amendment, United States Constitution, Canadian Constitution, Formal Amendment, Meech Lake Accord, Charlottetown Accord, Equal Rights Amendment, Corwin Amendment, Constitutional Design, Time, Deliberation, Ratification, Constitutional Change
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