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Constitutional AmendmentsMaking, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions$
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Richard Albert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190640484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190640484.001.0001

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The Rules of Law

(p.261) Conclusion
Constitutional Amendments

Richard Albert

Oxford University Press

There are presently too few resources to guide constitutional designers in building the rules of constitutional amendment. This chapter offers a roadmap for designing constitutional amendment rules. As is true of building an edifice, constructing the rules of constitutional change requires careful thought about design and operation. This chapter explains that amendment rules are organized around four sets of fundamental choices requiring designers to set the foundations of the polity, to choose among pathways to initiate, propose and ratify an amendment, to select specifications that will put the foundations and pathways into operation, and finally to determine how and where amendments will be recorded. This chapter also explains that formal amendment as a practice reflects the democratic values of the rule of law, including predictability, transparency, and publicity. There are of course advantages to informal amendment and methods of change that violate the codified rules of change, but there are even greater democracy-enhancing virtues that are possible only with formal amendment. This chapter considers constitutions from Austria, Costa Rica, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

Keywords:   codification, constitutional design, constitutional flexibility, constitutional rigidity, democracy, democratic values, formal amendment, informal amendment, rule of law, unamendability

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