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"The Coming Demise of Liberal Constitutionalism?"

  • Publication: University of Chicago Law Review

2018, Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law Review


Authors: Tom Ginsburg, Aziz Huq, and Mila Versteeg

"In the wake of World War II, liberal constitutionalism emerged as a default design choice for political systems across Europe and North America. It then diffused more widely across the globe as a whole. This style of constitutionalism typically hinges on a written constitution that includes an enumeration of individual rights, the existence of rights-based judicial review, a heightened threshold for constitutional amendment, a commitment to periodic democratic elections, and a commitment to the rule of law. This commitment can be broadly understood as ensuring that administrative and adjudicative functions operate autonomously from, and potentially limit, powerful factions or leaders. While its details vary from one context to another, this is a form of constitutionalism that broadly seeks to protect democracy and limit power. It is this bundle of institutional design choices that was once viewed as the default governance option at the “end of history,”securely nestled in an “open and rule-based” liberal international order."

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