Representation and Constitutionalist Politics

The term “constitutionalist politics” is used to refer to the idea that a constitutional system includes a certain model of how politics–in its partisan, electoral sense–will be conducted and what constraints the formal rules, conventions, and norms of a particular constitution requires. Key among these requirements are certain conceptions of representation and their identification as either consistent or incommensurate with constitutionalist principles. This paper examines these implied norms of political representation and considers the question of when failure of political representation becomes failure of a constitutional order. Within the conceptual framework of a constitutional order, what are the distinctions between true and “sham” forms of representation? What kinds of representative claims are implied by particular forms of constitutionalism? To what extent is constitutional failure attributable to a prior failure of representation?