The distinction between amendment and revision is foundational to our present understanding of formal constitutional change. Scholars have suggested how to differentiate amendment from revision, constitutional designers have entrenched distinct procedures for each, and judges have applied both of these concepts to actual cases and controversies. Yet even at its best the distinction is unclear and it raises more questions than it offers answers. My purpose in this invited contribution to the Edward Elgar Handbook on Comparative Constitution Making is to clarify the distinction between amendment and revision from a perspective internal to the scholarship on constitutional change. I suggest with reference to jurisdictions as varied as Belize, Canada, the Czech Republic, India and the United States that an amendment should be understood as an effort to continue the constitution-making project that began at the founding moment, while a revision should be understood as an effort to unmake the constitution by introducing an extraordinary change that is inconsistent with the fundamental presuppositions of the constitution. I conclude by suggesting that our reinterpretation of the distinction between amendment and revision nonetheless remains susceptible to exploitation.
Richard Albert and Yaniv Roznai
Constitutional designers often entrench religion and secularism against amendment. We explore the unamendability of religion and secularism in constitutions around the world. We begin, in section 1, with an overview of the formal unamendability of religion and secularism in codified constitutions. In section 2, we analyse how religion and secularism in their unamendable forms have been interpreted; here we distinguish between formal unamendability entrenched in a codified constitution and informal unamendability that arises from judicial interpretation or political practice. We focus on the Constitutions of Canada, India, Iran and Turkey. Section 3 moves from the descriptive to the normative: we state the democratic objection to, as well as the democratic defence of, unamendability. We conclude with thoughts on the uses and misuses of unamendability, and its effectiveness in constraining political actors from exercising or refraining from exercising their delegated powers.
Edited by Richard Albert, Antonia Baraggia and Cristina Fasone
Richard Albert, Antonia Baraggia and Cristina Fasone
Bicameralism is under pressure in every corner of the world. From North to South America, from Australia to Africa, and from Asia to Europe, there are some signs of success, yet perhaps more of failure, in efforts to reform bicam¬eralism to respond to the modern expectations of democracy.