Term Limits and the Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment Doctrine: Lessons from Latin America

Forthcoming, Alexander Baturo and Robert Elgie eds., Politics of Presidential Term Limits (Oxford University Press)

FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 887

20 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018

See all articles by David Landau

David Landau

Florida State University - College of Law

Yaniv Roznai

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya - Radzyner School of Law

Rosalind Dixon

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 4, 2018

Abstract

This chapter examines the interaction between term limit provisions and the unconstitutional constitutional amendment doctrine in Latin America. It illustrates the varied approaches of courts concerning the validity of attempts to amend presidential term-limits. In Colombia, the Constitutional Court intervened to prevent what it saw as an undue easing of term limits (after permitting one round of easing); In Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, courts generally allowed attempts to ease or eliminate term limit using less demanding rather than more demanding procedural routes; and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia, judiciaries deployed the unconstitutional constitutional amendment doctrine in order to eliminate rather than to protect term limits. After mapping the major constitutional decisions issued on this issue in Latin America in recent years, the authors argue that transnational anchoring holds some promise in clarifying the proper scope of control of constitutional change regarding term limits.

Keywords: Term Limits; Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment Doctrine; Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments; Latin America; Constitutions; Democracy; Courts; Transnational Anchoring; Eternity Clauses; Abusive Constitutionalism

Suggested Citation

Landau, David and Roznai, Yaniv and Dixon, Rosalind, Term Limits and the Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment Doctrine: Lessons from Latin America (July 4, 2018). Forthcoming, Alexander Baturo and Robert Elgie eds., Politics of Presidential Term Limits (Oxford University Press); FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 887. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3208187

David Landau

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

Yaniv Roznai (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

Rosalind Dixon

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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