The Presentist Portuguese Constitution

in Richard Albert (ed.) The Architecture of Constitutional Amendments: History, Law, Politics, Hart Publishing, 2023, pp. 29-42, forthcoming

19 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2023

See all articles by Catarina Santos Botelho

Catarina Santos Botelho

Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Date Written: 2023

Abstract

This paper starts by describing the Portuguese Constitution of 1976, which is a fully aspirational and long post-revolutionary constitutional text. It will then explore the rigid Portuguese constitutional amendment design and the respective model of codification. The Portuguese Constitution bears the lengthiest unamendable clause in the world and consecrates formal limitations to constitutional change (temporal, procedural and circumstantial). The two major consequences of the option for the invisible model are that constitutional amendments need to be explicit and that the appendative technique is rejected. Still, when compared to the classical example of amendment invisibility – Ireland – the Portuguese Constitution holds some differences. I conclude with some brief observations regarding the un(conscious) choice of an invisible model in Portugal. Overall, when opting for an invisible mode, the values of coherence and clarity outweigh the absent lesson on constitutional law history.

Keywords: constitutional amendment; amendment codification; invisible model; constitutional design; coherence and clarity; constitutional primacy

Suggested Citation

Santos Botelho, Catarina, The Presentist Portuguese Constitution ( 2023). in Richard Albert (ed.) The Architecture of Constitutional Amendments: History, Law, Politics, Hart Publishing, 2023, pp. 29-42, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4324445

Catarina Santos Botelho (Contact Author)

Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa ( email )

Rua Diogo Botelho, 1327
Porto, 4169-05
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://catarinasantosbotelho.com

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