Abusive Constitutionalism & Democratic Entrenchment: Constitutional Design in an Age of Backsliding’ (with Rosalind Dixon)

The project aims to address current patterns of democratic retrenchment, or what one of us (Landau) has labelled ‘abusive constitutionalism.’ More specifically, it aims to focus on three key principles of democratic design that could help address this problem in future constitutional settings, namely: principles of ‘tiering’ and ‘sequencing’ processes of constitutional change, and the principle of ‘splitting’ constitutional authority. We further point to a fourth principle – ‘anchoring’ – as a guide to the design and implementation of these other principles. We do not plan to suggest that these principles are either an exhaustive or fail-safe guide to preventing democratic erosion. None of these principles are ultimately necessary or sufficient to protect democracy. But we will argue that they are helpful in doing so, at least if understood in an appropriately clear but also context-sensitive way.