Politics and Constitutional Jurisgenesis: A Cautionary Note on Political Constitutionalism
Global Constitutionalism Vol. 7 (2018, Forthcoming)
42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 24, 2018
This paper aims to provide an alternative account of political constitutionalism by situating it in a broader process of constitutional politics than the traditional court vs parliament debate has suggested. Drawing upon Robert Cover’s distinction between the jurispathic and the jurisgenerative constitution, I argue that parliamentary decision-making is not necessarily more congenial to a jurisgenerative constitutional order than judicial review as political constitutionalists contend. I trace the jurispathic character of current scholarship on political constitutionalism to the presupposition of institutional sovereignty in a narrow understanding of constitutional politics, which its defenders share in common with the supporters of judicial supremacy. To move towards a robust version of non-court-centred jurisgenerative constitutionalism, which I call constitutional jurisgenesis, we need to rethink the place of politics in a constitutional order. From Cover’s idea of constitutional nomos I take two further lessons for this new understanding of constitutional politics. First, constitutional theory should reconsider the role of institutional sovereignty in the relationship between law and politics in constitutional orders. Second, to engage the people in constitutional politics, we need to shift attention from the popular sovereignty-centred debate to constitutional narratives, which are oriented towards nomos-building.
Keywords: narratives and nomos, Robert Cover, legal constitutionalism, political constitutionalism, constitutional jurisgenesis, institutional sovereignty, popular sovereignty, jurisgenerative constitution, judicial supremacy vs parliamentary sovereignty, constitutional jurispathy
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