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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Constitution-Making: A Process Filled With Constraint, Donald L. Horowitz Jan 2006

Constitution-Making: A Process Filled With Constraint, Donald L. Horowitz

Faculty Scholarship

Constitutions are generally made by people with no previous experience in constitution making. The assistance they receive from outsiders is often less useful than it may appear. The most pertinent foreign experience may reside in distant countries, whose lessons are unknown or inaccessible. Moreover, although constitutions are intended to endure, they are often products of the particular crisis that forced their creation. Drafters are usually heavily affected by a desire to avoid repeating unpleasant historical experiences or to emulate what seem to be successful constitutional models. Theirs is a heavily constrained environment, made even more so by distrust and dissensus ...


Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2005

Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

With increasing frequency and heightened debate, United States courts have been citing foreign and “international” law as authority for domestic decisions. This trend is inappropriate, undemocratic, and dangerous. The trend touches on fundamental concepts of sovereignty, democracy, the judicial role, and overall issues of effective governance. There are multiple problems with the judiciary’s reliance on extraterritorial and extra-constitutional foreign or international sources to guide their decisions. Perhaps the most fundamental flaw is its interference with rule of law values. To borrow from Judge Harold Levanthal, the use of international sources in judicial decision-making might be described as “the equivalent ...