For those interested in reading into our project and associated ideas, we are including here some resources that may help.
They each touch on an idea with which we are grappling – some are by those who are associated with our project, others by their colleagues, and some are just on point and connecting to our concerns about contemporary populism – for a great example, see the German Law Journal special edition devoted to Populist constitutionalism: Varieties, complexities, and contradictions.
Also, as a starting place for why this is so topical, have a look at the (latest) report in a series from Freedom House about ‘Freedom in the World’ – in 2020, this is entitled ‘A Leaderless Struggle for Democracy’. Download the full report from Freedom House
Abusive constitutionalism – see David Landau’s paper on the use of mechanisms of constitutional change to erode the democratic order, available from SSRN.
Authoritarianism – for a crosscutting analysis connected to ideas important to this project, see the paper from Bojan Bugarič, a member of our International Advisory Board: ‘A Crisis of Constitutional Democracy in Post-Communist Europe: ‘Lands In-Between’ Democracy and Authoritarianism’, which is available from SSRN
Another very useful perspective is found in Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence, produced by the NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies in 2017. With keen attention to Argentina, Peru, Poland, and Slovakia, the volume gives timely attention to authoritarian influence efforts in young and vulnerable democracies. Download the full report
Courts – Nick Friedman provides an accessible short paper on ‘The Impact of Populism on Courts: Institutional Legitimacy and the Popular Will’ available from the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society
Constitutions – for a brief survey of contemporary issues, the case of Iceland illustrates some of the tensions involved – see Iceland’s crowd-sourced constitution by Ruth Kinna, Alex Prichard and Thomas Swann. On the particular issue of Constraining Constitutional Change – see the paper by David Landau and Rosalind Dixon (a member of our International Advisory Board) on the legal regulation of constitutional replacement, available from SSRN.
Bicameralism – first see the primer on this topic from the Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), then see the paper by Jeremy Waldron which addresses the aspect of democratic structure and formation that ‘explores Bentham’s diatribe against bicameralism and it infers that a justification for bicameralism rests on the significance of the difference(s) between the second chamber and the first’, available from SSRN. See also a perspective from Giacomo Delledonne on ‘perfect and imperfect’ bicameralism, available from SSRN.
Bicameral states – in a recent paper, Daniel Lane uses statistical analysis of what states do to consider the link between parliamentary structure and treatment of citizens. Lane notes that: ‘Since centuries of commentary tends to lean against bicameralism also, my hypothesis is that a simple statistical test will demonstrate that bicameral nations tend to be more closely correlated with human rights abuses’. He concludes that ‘the real question of this paper may not be, “are bicameral states more likely to abuse their citizens” but rather, as in Milton’s Hell: “are states constructed bicamerally in order to abuse citizens?” ‘ His paper is available from SSRN.
How to ‘do democracy’ – in which Iceland is the oft-cited case in recent times: see the overview of key events, Post-crisis Iceland, additional background on the process of constitutional review, and a profile on one of the new style leaders in Iceland. On the constitutional questions involved, see ‘The Constitutional Experiment in Iceland’ by Baldvin Thor Bergsson and Paul Blokker (the latter a member of our International Advisory Board) which is available from academia.edu. See also Eirikur Bergmann ‘The New Political Order in Post-Crash Iceland: Refoundation, continuity or status quo’ which is available from academia.edu.
Judicial review has a particular role in democracy, but one that is readily suborned by abuses of public authority by those claiming or exercising political power. For background on this central point, from one of our national collaborators, see Theunis Roux The Politico-Legal Dynamics of Judicial Review: A Comparative Analysis available in print and as an ebook
Populism, writes Théo Fournier, ‘is inherent to democracy and the risk of populist behaviour has existed for as long as democracy has existed’. Read more about how he encapsulates the ideas which seem to be the ‘common ground’ of contemporary populists – in a paper for an EUI Workshop held on Populism and Constitutionalism on 20 November 2017.
For more on the issues raised by populism, see the paper from Bojan Bugarič, a member of our International Advisory Board: ‘The Right to Democracy in a Populist Era’, which is available from AJIL as an open source item.
In relation to varieties of populism – see the paper by Noam Gidron and Bart Bonikowski on this ‘widely used and widely contested’ term, in which they put forward a literature review (from the late 19th century to the present), and research agenda, available from SSRN.