State Constitutional Pluralism

The complexity of engagement among multiple legal systems is now an increasingly studied subject. However, despite a broad range of legal pluralism scholarship examining the presence and engagement of state/non-state as well as state/state legal systems, much constitutional law scholarship tends towards a monist perspective in examining state constitutions. While constitutional pluralism has emerged as a subject of study, it remains largely in the supra-national context in relation to the European Union. In this paper, we argue that constitutional pluralism can be applied to better comprehend some state constitutions, and propose the concept of “state constitutional pluralism”, which refers to heterarchical constitutional authorities arising from divergent constitutional norms, ideas, and values that coexist and conflict within the state. Using examples from Asia, we examine three sources of constitutional pluralism: secular-religious, local-central, and ideational.