Conceptualizing the Field of Comparative Constitutional Law

It is impossible to teach comparative constitutional law without confronting basic questions about the field itself: what should we be attempting to study, and how we should study it? Pedagogy forces us to choose among competing conceptions or models of the field. However, these models are rarely articulated, much less evaluated. Reflection on practice suggests the existence of at least five competing models, which might be called instrumentalism, tourism, immersion, abstraction, and representation. All five models merit a place at the table: the diversity of the field, of the audience, and of constitutionalism itself calls for a high degree of pedagogical as well as methodological pluralism. The representation model in particular is rarely encountered in practice but deserves wider adoption, as it is inherently well suited to filling the blind spots left by other approaches.

Constitutional Transformation: Hungary

This chapter uses recent developments in Hungary to examine how the equivalent of political revolution can occur through changes that are, taken individually, in compliance in the constitution but collectively amount to wholesale transformation of the constitutional order. It confronts the question of what limits, if any, exist on constitutional revolutions of this type.

The Context of “Constitutionalism in Context”

This paper will discuss Constitutionalism in Context’s valuable contribution to the field of comparative constitutional studies as an illuminating scholarly resource, with its focus on deep case studies, as well as an innovative and much-needed teaching tool.

Nonjudicial Constitutional Interpretation: The Netherlands

How do non-judicial actors engage in constitutional guardianship? The Netherlands is a case in point: because the Dutch Constitution explicitly prohibits courts from examining the constitutionality of legislation, it has fallen to other institutions to ensure that constitutional rules and values are duly taken into account, especially when new legislation is under consideration. This chapter focuses on the role that governments and civil servants play in verifying a bill’s constitutional conformity during the drafting stage; on the Council of State, which is tasked with providing non-partisan advice to the government on new bills; and on how Parliament itself goes about confronting constitutional issues during legislative debates. The Dutch experience shows that it is possible to successfully ensure constitutional supremacy even when judges are not available to act as ultimate protectors of the national constitution.

Constitutional History and Constitutional Migration: Nepal

What is constitutional identity, and how does it emerge? Nepal is an ideal case study for exploring the concept of constitutional identity because it sits uneasily within the traditional taxonomies used in the discipline and has been pulled in conspicuous ways between the conflicting imperatives of constitutional autochthony and constitutional globalization. A long indigenous history of monarchical rule, religious conservatism, and legalized discrimination remains to be fully reconciled with the influence of modern-day international human rights norms.

Citizenship and Nationality: Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus was founded on bi-communality: it is a unitary state with a single citizenship, but citizens are divided on into two communities, a Greek and a Turkish. The constitutional breakdown of 1964, the Turkish invasion of 1974, and the subsequent refusal of the Turkish community to participate in the institutions of the state have given rise to a number of unique problems of citizenship and nationality. Turkish Cypriots remain citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, a state that many of them refuse to recognize, while at the same time residing within a political entity that the international community does not recognize. The interplay between citizenship and national descent in the peculiar situation of Cyprus offers an ideal case study for exploring the concept and boundaries of citizenship and its relationship to the concept of nationality.