Executive Aggrandizement in Established Democracies: A Crisis of Liberal Democratic Constitutionalism
International Journal of Constitutional Law, ISBN: 9780190888985, (2019 Forthcoming)
13 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2018 Last revised: 14 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 11, 2018
Drawing upon the authors of this edited collection titled 'Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?' (Graber, Levinson and Tushnet eds., OUP 2018), I argue in Section A that the unfolding crisis is not a crisis of state, governance, legality or politics. Section B suggests that, instead, we are witnessing a crisis of executive accountability. There is a gradual erosion of all three forms of accountability-seeking mechanisms: (i) electoral or vertical accountability to the people, (ii) horizontal or institutional accountability to the political opposition, judiciary and fourth branch institutions, and (iii) diagonal or discursive accountability to the academy, media and civil society. Section C identifies the precise mechanisms through which executive aggrandizement is taking place. It argues that this aggrandizement is incremental and systemic, uses democratic rhetoric, and is effected by the fusion of the ruling party and the state. Section D emphasises the limitations of the judiciary in defending democracy on its own, and calls for greater attention to the role of political parties, fourth branch institutions, electoral systems and global institutions.
Keywords: democratic backsliding, constitutional democracy, executive aggrandizement, comparative constitutional law
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