Foundations of Majority Rule and its Application to Constitutional Courts

One of the most salient features of many constitutional democracies is the existence of constitutional courts that can control the constitutionality of statutory legislation. In order to decide whether to invalidate statutory provisions as unconstitutional, most constitutional courts use majority rule. In this paper, I argue that the main justifications provided for majority rule as a general collective decision-making procedure do not sufficiently apply to constitutional courts. In order to do this, I consider each of the prevalent theories formulated to support majority rule and assess their applicability to the judicial review context. The lack of sufficient justification for the use of majority rule in constitutional courts is important because, if there is no sufficient basis for using majority rule in constitutional courts, a case can be built for replacing majority rule by other voting rules when it comes to resolving whether a staturoy provision is constitutional or not.

Parliamentary Supremacy in the Commonwealth: Dominions and the struggle for legislative autonomy

The story of legislative autonomy in the Dominions typically ends with the incorporate of the Statute of Westminster. This overlooks the subsequent struggles within the Dominions to establish some form of parliamentary supremacy as an internal norm within their constitutional structures. This was particularly noticeable in those Dominions which possessed a unitary form of government, the Irish Free State, South Africa and New Zealand. This paper aims to trace the development of this idea and the institutional constraints which were encountered within the constitutional systems. The insights of these institutional structures will be contrasted with Australia and the short-lived South Asian Dominions.

The Struggles of Majoritarian Democracy: An Incipient Latin American Trend Towards the Development of Dialogic Democracy

The present paper presents the struggles faced by contemporary societies in regard to Majoritarian Democracy — struggles which appear alongside the growing crisis of Representative Democracy. Latin America, tainted by the historical exclusion of social identity groups, is, therefore, the perfect stage to study such issues. Dissatisfaction in terms of social justice and political inclusion has given rise to the New Latin American Constitutionalism, a phenomenon which, outside the reach of the academy’s walls, has been fueled by social movements’ demands. In order to found a new State, capable of breaking free from the chains of imperialism, the latest Constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador establish governments based on principles such as legal and epistemological pluralism, and, in doing so, further develop the Habermasian idea of Dialogic Democracy. Communicative Action, in such a context, may be the answer to attaining consensual social coordination.

New technologies as an instrument for citizen engagement and enforcing the participatory dimension of the democratic principle

The incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into politics introduced fundamental changes to democratic societies and new formats in the relationship between citizens and elected officials, allowing a rekindling of their interactions. New technologies enable faster and easier communication and governments have been moving towards an Internet of Things (IoT) based framework, enabling citizen engagement and data gathering to better inform public policy decisions. Nonetheless, adopting a system integrated with technology brings risks such as digital exclusion, public policy capture and informational bubbles, which may result in hindering democracy. With this in mind, studying the potential of ICTs to enhance citizen engagement and participation in public administration, its influence in governance and the risks associated with their integration in the administrative decision-making process is essential in order to face the challenges posed by this new format.

How democratic is democracy? A question from the case of the popular consultations in Colombia.

The purpose of this paper is to analyse a new constitutional trend of democracy that is shaping the exploitation of natural resources in the Global South. As a result of recent Colombian Constitutional Court rulings and the appliance of constitutional participatory democracy mechanisms, local communities and authorities are able to hinder mining exploitation or oil drilling projects settled by national authorities.

Indeed, local communities and regional authorities have used popular consultations as a way to know local population´s opinion, about extractive projects as an issue of notorious “local interest”. At the moment, eight popular consultations have been made, all with a majority vote against the extractive projects. And after the law, those results are mandatory.

In this frame, this paper aims to deepen the real understanding of democracy in a constitutional state, as well as the limits of democratic mechanisms to determine other constitutional intererests.

Liberal Constitutionalism and the New Global Populism: A Legal-Philosophical Investigation

In recent years, many legal scholars and political scientists explicitly or implicitly agree that populism is a threat to liberal democratic constitutionalism. Nevertheless, much less clear is the assessment of the source of decay within liberal democratic constitutionalism.

This paper will focus on two issues that become the root of crisis within liberal democratic constitutionalism. First, what Charles Taylor calls as the modern moral order, has contributed to the rise of the populist movement, as the citizens demand more openness to the “transcendent frame.” Second, relying on Tocqueville, this paper posits liberal democratic constitutionalism has produced a despotic form of equality, in which docile and alienated citizens look upward to the powerful state rather than outward toward their neighbors for their nourishment. The scope of investigation of this paper will include the rise of populism in the United States, Western/Eastern Europe, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.