Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Constitutional AmendmentsMaking, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Richard Albert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190640484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190640484.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022



Uncharted Terrain in Constitutional Amendment

(p.1) Introduction
Constitutional Amendments

Richard Albert

Oxford University Press

What is an amendment? This chapter shows why this question is central to the study of constitutional change. Some constitutional changes are identified as amendments but in reality may be more. Whether a constitutional change is an amendment entails implications for how the change must be made, whether a court can and should evaluate its constitutionality, and what the change requires for legitimation. This chapter returns to the origins of formal amendment—to the Articles of Confederation, America’s first constitution, which codified the very first amendment rule in a national constitution—to uncover the foundations of amendment practice and what makes an amendment different from other constitutional changes. This chapter moreover raises a question about an increasingly common phenomenon that straddles the border of legality and legitimacy: the violation of amendment rules. This chapter explains that the Indian basic structure doctrine and Bruce Ackerman’s theory of constitutional moments are, at bottom, variations on the same theme we see all over the world: changes to amendment rules that occur in defiance of the rules of formal amendment. Many examples follow to illustrate this point. The chapter closes by describing and situating the importance of the chapters to follow in this book. This chapter considers constitutions from around the globe.

Keywords:   amendment, Articles of Confederation, basic structure doctrine, constitutional amendment, constitutional design, constitutional moments, formal amendment, referendum, Venice Commission, unconstitutional constitutional amendment

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .