When you hear Sujit Choudhry talking about the constitution and the problems faced when defending it, you know that there is some valuable information coming. Recently, he talked about the threats that constitutions all over the world face. Indeed, defending the laws is not something that should be taken lightly. However, we all know that everyone wants to apply the laws selectively. In a world where democracy has brought about a lot of division, you are likely to find many opposing groups and each one of the wants the constitution to favor them. So, what are some of the threats that he discusses? Here is a detailed look at the article that the professor wrote.
Threats from autocrats
Autocracy seems to be the biggest threat to constitutionalism. Autocrats tend to think that they have more rights than other people. They are the elite type that wants to manipulate the laws so that they work in their favor. To protect the laws from this group, governments should implement strategies that promote resilience. Resilience is easier to build when you have steps that prohibit lousy progress. In such a situation, you have to block every attempt to manipulate constitutions by creating a long process that discourages every effort.
Populists have a claim to many changes because they are the ones that represent a majority of the citizens. You will notice that populists almost have everything going their way. In as much as this may be a good thing, it also poses a threat to the constitution. This is the group that can propose and implement changes to the laws, and this is likely to be used in the wrong way. Therefore, even as they enjoy popular support, they should be put through checks and balances when it comes to the manipulation of constitutions.
When incumbent leaders near the elections, there is likely to be a change in the laws so that they can protect their power. They will want to win elections by suppressing their opponents. To achieve this, they will manipulate the constitution to make electoral changes. A good example is when they change the institutions that manage elections. They can make appointments that work in their favor just to ensure that their opponents do not stand a chance. IN addition to that, they will seek to limit the voting rights of certain groups, especially those that are not likely to vote in their favor.
Creating new structures
The only way that the constitution can be protected from these threats is by building basic structures to safeguard it. This starts by implementing laws that create intuitions. It is through a proper structure that autocracy will not have a chance to manipulate laws. Building structures should not be a complicated process, especially when you can learn from previous occurrences. Countries that are just recovering from conflict may learn from the constitutions of much more established democracies. They should ensure that they come up with a law that is free from manipulation and which serves everyone equally.
About Sujit Choudhry
When he is not talking about constitutional laws, Professor Sujit Choudhry teaches at the University of California. He has also taught law at several other universities including the University of Toronto and New York University. In addition to teaching, he is an advisor to the constitution-making process, a role that he has performed in more than ten countries including Sri Lanka, South Africa, Egypt, and Jordan. The vastly experienced professor is also a public speaker and has been researching the constitution and peace in various countries throughout his career. He also helps countries that are recovering from conflicts.