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Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law
Home Archive for category "Zachary Elkins" (Page 2)
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The Church and Constitutional Fidelity

Nearly a month ago, the Wall Street Journal carried an interesting story on the role of the Catholic Church in the Honduran constitutional crisis. The Church, as it turns out, supported the coup (a highly contested word in this context, I know) for which they received a fair amount of criticism from Zelayistas. In the

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Published on December 14, 2009
Author:          Filed under: constitutional interpretation, honduras, hp, religion, Zachary Elkins
 
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Out with the old, in with the new

The newly minted Supreme Court of the UK handed down its first decision this week, after coming to power on October 1, 2009. There is no doubt that Brits (and the rest of us) are still getting used to the idea of new branch of government in the UK. There is even some question (in

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The Honduran Crisis as Constitutional Inoculation?

It may be time to turn to some of the broader implications of the Honduran constitutional crisis now that a resolution to at least the immediate standoff is in sight. In particular, what will be the fate of the Honduran constitution? Ironically, some have suggested that a constitutional convention to rewrite the document – the

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Published on November 5, 2009
Author:          Filed under: constitutional change, honduras, hp, Latin America, term limits, Zachary Elkins
 
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Term Limits Imperiled Again (this time in Colombia)

The perennial war of term limits versus presidents in Latin America seems to have opened a new front in Colombia — my native country, no less. There, it appears that term limits pose no match for popular President Uribe, whose supporters have pushed through a bill in the senate that paves the way for a

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Published on August 27, 2009
Author:          Filed under: Colombia, hp, Latin America, term limits, Zachary Elkins
 
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Are Constitutions like Marriage?

The convenant binding two people “til death do [them] part” seems to have much in common with constitutions. Both contracts are highly symbolic and probably confer some degree of legitimacy upon unions that will inevitably weather their fair share of crises. Both contracts, when entered into, are thought to last indefinitely. We can continue to

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Published on August 21, 2009
Author:          Filed under: hp, Zachary Elkins
 
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Bullets not Ballots in Tegucigalpa

As readers of this space know, we have been following the evolving constitutional story in Honduras in recent months. The constitutional process erupted yesterday as the Honduran military pre-empted a scheduled referendum and ousted President Zelaya. The question on the ballot was whether Hondurans should replace the constitution. Before polls opened, the military cast its

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Published on June 29, 2009
Author:          Filed under: constitutional change, hp, Latin America, term limits, Zachary Elkins
 
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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