April 19, 2012 (12:00 – 1:00 PM)
CCD Conference Room
624 E. 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism
I will be presenting extracts from two chapters of my above-titled book-in-progress. The book’s twin aims are (1) to present the new model as a new and general model of constitutionalism in a more systematic and comprehensive way than before, and (2) to assess whether and to what extent it is operating distinctly and successfully in practice.
Chapter two addresses the questions of what is the new Commonwealth model and what is new about it. It argues that the new model consists of two novel techniques for protecting rights: mandatory pre-enactment political rights review and weak-form judicial review. Chapter three presents the normative case for the new model. In essence, this case is that the new model is to institutional forms of constitutionalism what the mixed economy is to forms of economic organization: a distinct and appealing third way in between two purer but flawed options. Just as the mixed economy is a hybrid economic form combining the benefits of capitalism and socialism while minimizing their well-known costs, so too the new model offers an alternative to the old choice of judicial supremacy or traditional parliamentary sovereignty by combining the strengths of each while avoiding their major weaknesses.