Comparative Constitution Making
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Comparative Constitution Making

Edited by David Landau and Hanna Lerner

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of new research on constitution making. Comparative Constitution Making provides an up-to-date overview of this rapidly expanding field.
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Chapter 16: The making of constitutional preambles

Justin O. Frosini

Abstract

While often overlooked as a mere introduction to a country's constitution, a preamble may provide insight into certain issues that the framers were unable to work into the articled provisions during the constitution-making process. The chapter begins by providing a notion of what preambles are and what they contain. The core of the chapter then looks at how preambles are treated by Constitutional and Supreme Courts as a litmus test of whether they have legal value or not. This is followed by a theoretical summary of the main lessons drawn from the various country studies explaining why in some cases preambles play a more significant role compared with other places where the preamble is rarely used by the courts. The chapter goes on to underline the fact that constitutional drafters and scholars ought to pay more attention to preambles, especially the issue of what legal status they are intended to have. The chapter ends by posing a series of questions that designers and scholars should think about when drafting constitutional preambles.

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