Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Life Span of Constitutionalism

Mark Tushnet

A prominent study in comparative constitutional law calculates that the average life span of a national constitution is about 19 years. Thinking about recent developments in Poland and Hungary led me to wonder about the life span of constitutionalism itself. It looks like constitutionalism there lasted about 20-25 years. Constitutionalism in Germany and Japan has lasted more than 70 years.

At what point can we say (as outsiders to a system) that, when constitutionalism goes belly up, "Well, it had a good long run"? How about from 1783 or 1789 to 2017?

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