Comment by Jim Campbell
August 17th 2021
Legal scholars and political theorists interested in constitutionalism as a normative concept tend to dichotomize the subject.
It’s interesting that Harvard’s logo has the wore VERITAS emblazoned upon it.
Costs to attend Harvard University:
If the student doesn’t finish law school and pass the bar exam he/she will be among the hundreds of thousands of college students to work in restaurants, flip hamburgers, be ticket takers at movie theaters, our work in a shop in the thousands across America.
It’s not my intention to belittle the above jobs, but come on, we are talking about the Harvard graduate here.
(Getty Images Massachusetts: The Harvard University seal.
Interestingly, as expected “The truth is on the short side of its Ivy Covered Walls.
It didn’t get the name of “Little Moscow on the Hudson without good reason.”
There is liberal constitutionalism of the sort familiar in the modern West, with core commitments to human rights and self-governance implemented by means of varying institutional devices, and there is authoritarianism, rejecting human rights entirely and governed by unconstrained power-holders.
This Article explores the possibility of forms of constitutionalism other than liberal constitutionalism.
The Article focuses on what I call authoritarian constitutionalism.
That discussion is connected to recent literature in political science on hybrid regimes.
Drawing on these literatures, this Article outlines some characteristics of authoritarian constitutionalism understood normatively.
The reason for such an exploration parallels that for the analysis of hybrid regimes.
For a period those regimes were described as transitional, on the assumption that they were an intermediate point on a trajectory from authoritarianism to liberal democracy.
Scholars have come to understand that we are better off seeing these regimes as a distinct type (or as several distinct types), as stable as many democracies. In short, they have pluralized the category of regime types.
Similarly, I suggest, pluralizing the category of constitutionalism will enhance understanding by allowing us to draw distinctions between regimes that should be normatively distinguished.
I begin with a brief description of three forms of constitutionalism other than liberal constitutionalism.
In absolutist constitutionalism, a single decision-maker motivated by an interest in the nation’s well-being consults widely and protects civil liberties generally, but in the end decides on a course of action in the decision-maker’s sole discretion, unchecked by any other institutions.
In mere rule-of-law constitutionalism, the decision-maker conforms with some general procedural requirements and implements decisions through, among other things, independent courts, but is not constrained by any substantive rules regarding, for example, civil liberties.
Finally, in authoritarian constitutionalism liberal freedoms are protected at an intermediate level and elections are reasonably free and fair.
If you believe this nonsense, look who is illegally occupying the White House.