Constructing the Constitutional Self: Meaning, Value, and Abuse of Constitutional Identity

The concept of constitutional identity has been criticized for being too indeterminate and prone to abuse by authoritarian governments. It has been suggested that constitutional identity should be eliminated from European constitutional discourse. This article argues against the banishment of constitutional identity. First, it shows that the critiques of constitutional identity fail to engage with the concept properly and do not offer a credible alternative. Second, the article advances an account of the concept and normative value of constitutional identity. Third, the article argues that such an account of constitutional identity allows us to recognize instances of its abuse.