Shortcuts and short circuits in Latin American constitutional models: revisiting the tensions between constitution and democracy in the region.

Cristina Lafont has defended in Democracy without Shortcuts (2020) the possibility of justifying constitutional review in democratic terms. Such a justification would mean making the ideals of constitutionalism compatible with the principle of collective self-government. In Rawlsian terms, Lafont has insisted that constitutional justice has the capacity to encourage public debate and the exercise of public reason through processes extended over time, where different institutions, as well as the citizenry, are engaged. Although the author does not advocate a particular form of constitutional justice, the truth is that her position does seem to rule out certain forms of institutional design. This contribution seeks to analyze what those limits would be (what would make a particular model of constitutional justice illegitimate from a democratic perspective) and what implications such a position has for the models of strong constitutional review that are widespread in Latin America.