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I·CONnect

Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law
Home Articles posted by zelkins (Page 3)
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And now Honduras…

One of the central findings from our (Elkins, Ginsburg, Melton) study of constitutional change over the last 200 years concerns the role of ambitious executives. Specifically, executives that are hemmed in by term limits or other constraints on their power often seek opportunities to replace or amend the constitution. We also find that such executives

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Published on March 27, 2009
Author:          Filed under: constitutional change, hp, Latin America, term limits, Zachary Elkins
 
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Constitutionalizing Language

Figure. Proportion of constitutions that specify an official language Constitutions are often about defining a political community. Adding official (or national) language requirements is a powerful — if potentially exclusionary — way to do so. The figure at left, drawn from the just-uploaded report on language provisions (see the reports!), suggests that officialdom in this

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Published on February 16, 2009
Author:          Filed under: culture, hp, language, Zachary Elkins
 
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Self Dealing and Legislatures

It is often tempting, or at least convenient, to charge sitting legislatures with the task of constitution writing. These bodies are usually representative and are built to write laws. Why not trust them with higher law too? One concern is the problem of self dealing. One of, if not THE most, important tasks in constitution

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Published on February 13, 2009
Author:          Filed under: hp, process, Zachary Elkins
 
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New reports filing in

As some of you know, we are periodically combing through the Comparative Constitutions Project’s growing dataset on constitutional provisions (of both historical and contemporary constitutions) in order to produce “option” reports on various design provisions. The idea is simply to ensure that drafters know what others have done. This week we added three reports, one

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Published on February 9, 2009
Author:          Filed under: hp, reports, Zachary Elkins
 
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Constitutional “vibe”

Constitutions and film are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. As far as I know, no watchable film has been made of even the celebrated summer of 1787 in Philadelphia (“Long Hot Summer II” anyone?). Nevertheless, when Dennis Davis, the well known South African judge and constitutional scholar, recommends a film in the genre you

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Published on February 7, 2009
Author:          Filed under: film, hp, Zachary Elkins
 
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Bolivia and the risks of dissensus

In last week’s constitutional referendum in Bolivia, 59% of voters approved of the proposed constitution. As the dust settles from that highly controversial affair, we can begin to make some observations. Some constitutions “get done” through significant compromise, or at least logrolling. This was not one of those. Deep differences surfaced (and exploded) well before

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Published on February 2, 2009
Author:          Filed under: hp, Latin America, ratification, Zachary Elkins
 
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17 years and now…this?

The new Burmese constitutions is extraordinary on many levels. First, is the waiting-for-Godot quality of the process that produced it. It took about seventeen years from initiative to ratification to get the document out the door. That is far and away a record. True, other countries kick around the possibility of a new charter sometimes

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Published on August 3, 2008
Author:          Filed under: hp, process, Zachary Elkins
 
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Why this forum?

Welcome! Here you will find commentary on issues and events surrounding constitutional design. The goal is the same as that for constitutionmaking.org more generally: to connect scholars and drafters, neither of whom can very easily follow what the other does. To that end, we endeavor to bring to light two sorts of information: (1) reports

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Published on July 27, 2008
Author:          Filed under: hp, inaugural post, Zachary Elkins