Political Support and Structural Constitutional Law

56 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017

See all articles by David Landau

David Landau

Florida State University - College of Law

Date Written: 2016


The field of comparative constitutional law has paid insufficient attention to judicial decisions on structural issues. This Article seeks to begin the process of constructing a comparative analysis of structural constitutional jurisprudence. Using both theoretical analysis and a case study, it seeks to demonstrate that courts are more likely to be successful in their programs of structural constitutional law when they enjoy support from other political and social actors. This simple point has significant implications for constitutional theory. First, it suggests that the structural safeguards theory long assumed in United States constitutional law may have only limited applicability. Under common conditions, the existence of political safeguards protecting structural values may not render judicial review redundant, but instead may identify the very types of conditions under which courts are most likely to succeed. Second, courts have at least a limited ability to shape their decisions to mobilize support from political institutions or from other actors like the general public. Thus, an important aim of future work should be in identifying techniques and strategies that courts can use to mobilize such support.

Keywords: structural constitutional law, separation of powers, Colombia, Mexico, constitutional theory, structural safeguards of federalism

JEL Classification: K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Landau, David, Political Support and Structural Constitutional Law (2016). Alabama Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 4, 2016, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 824, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2907084

David Landau (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

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