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Making a 21st Century Constitution

Playing Fair in Modern Democracies

Frank Vibert

Democratic constitutions are increasingly unfit for purpose with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform. Within this important book, Frank Vibert sets out the key challenges to reform, the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised and provides the standards against which reform should be measured.
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Appendix

Frank Vibert

Extract

This annex provides examples of the importance of sequencing, multivocality and estimating magnitudes and trends in policy making discussed in Chapter 13. The examples are about qualitative analytic procedures that can help or hinder politics to identify trade-offs between incommensurate values.

The first case, concerning the right to be forgotten (or the right to conceal), involves resolving the conflict between an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know. In this case, an abbreviated sequencing, involving the preliminary ruling procedure of the European Court of Justice, resulted in a judgment that was much criticized by the European Committee of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.

In the second case, around the cultivation of GMOs in EU Member States, the issue involves the claims of one type of rationality, the claims of science, against other types of value such as the value we place on an ‘uncontaminated’ environment. In this case, the EU allows for a form of ‘multivocality’ in decision taking so that the trade-offs can be framed in different ways in different places.

In the third case, IPCC makes judgments about trends and magnitudes in order to support decision taking in an area where the science remains contested and the costs of mitigation may seem high.

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