Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Symposium on constitutional design

A very interesting symposium issue of the Texas Law Review (June 2009) has just been published. It deals with the theory and practice of constitutional engineering and is aptly entitled “What, if anything, do we know about constitutional design?” The symposium issue includes fourteen articles by such luminaries as Sanford Levinson, Mark Tushnet, John Ferejohn, Bill Eskridge, Peter Ordeshook, and Walter Murphy; fascinating insights from a variety of settings, from Japan (by our fellow blogger David Law) to Iraq and Burma (Myanmar); and, to the extent that it is a testament to the symposium’s high quality, articles by several other contributors to this blog (David Fontana on the founding moments of American separation of powers model; Zachary Elkins & Tom Ginsburg on constitutional courts’ ancillary powers, and yours truly on success and failure in constitutional and other modernist “design sciences”). Alongside Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration of Accommodation? (Sujit Choudhry ed., Oxford University Press, 2008), this collection seems one of the more significant current treatments of the theory and practice, promise and pitfalls of constitutional design. What is my take-home message from the symposium? As American graphic designer Paul Rand once said, “Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”



One response to “Symposium on constitutional design”

  1. Tom Round Avatar

    Ah, but what does Paul Rand think of the Rights Civil Act of 1964? (-;

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