The People Against the Constitution
26 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2017 Last revised: 6 Sep 2017
Date Written: June 21, 2017
“Populism” as a political phenomenon has returned to public attention, but its implications for public law, and in particular constitutional law, remain poorly understood. This review-essay uses the monograph What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller to examine the salience of populism as a distinctive modality of political claim-making to U.S. constitutional law. To that end, I contrast Müller’s definition of populism with alternative accounts, and suggest reasons why constitutional scholars should employ the Müller’s. Leveraging that definition, I develop a series of tensions between populism and the observed tenets of liberal constitutional democracy under law in the United States.
Keywords: Constitutional law; populism; constitutional design; comparative constitutionalism
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