Constitutional Amendment and Dismemberment

84 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2016 Last revised: 8 Sep 2020

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: September 5, 2017

Abstract

Some constitutional amendments are not amendments at all. They are self-conscious efforts to repudiate the essential characteristics of a constitution and to destroy its foundations. And yet we commonly identify transformative changes like these as constitutional amendments no different from others.

A radically transformative change of this sort is not a constitutional amendment. It is a constitutional dismemberment. A constitutional dismemberment is a deliberate effort to disassemble one or more of the constitution’s constituent parts, whether codified or uncodified, without breaking the legal continuity that is necessary if not useful for maintaining a stable polity. Dismemberment seeks to transform the identity, the fundamental values or the architecture of the constitution.

In this Article, I introduce and theorize the phenomenon, concept, doctrine and theory of constitutional dismemberment. Drawing from jurisdictions around the world — Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Caribbean and the European Union — I explain how constitutional dismemberment responds to the major challenges in constitutional change today. How should constitutional designers structure the rules of constitutional change? How may political actors legally and legitimately formalize transformative changes to a constitution? Should courts review the constitutionality of constitutional amendments? And how may we redeem the foundational theory of constituent power to give it some purchase in modern constitutionalism? The theory of constitutional dismemberment offers a suite of pragmatic solutions to these enduring puzzles in the modern study of constitutional change and in the design of its procedures.

Keywords: Constitutional Amendment, Constitution-Making, Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment, Constituent Power, United States Constitution, Article V, Constitutional Convention, Unamendable Constitutional Provision, Unamendability, Comparative Constitutional Law, Constitutional Design

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard, Constitutional Amendment and Dismemberment (September 5, 2017). 43 Yale Journal of International Law 1 (2018), Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 424, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2875931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2875931

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

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