The Rise and Fall of World Constitutionalism

13 October 2021


Michael Wilkinson writes on 'The Rise and Fall of World Constitutionalism' on Verfassungsblog:

Twenty-five years ago, Bruce Ackerman announced the ‘rise of world constitutionalism’. Can we now proclaim its fall? And if so, is that something to mourn or to celebrate? Or is it a matter of indifference? 

The period coinciding with the end of the Cold War saw a tremendous rise in constitutionalism, with a cottage industry developing across various jurisdictions and disciplines. As well as world constitutionalism, there was global constitutionalism, societal constitutionalism, European constitutionalism, as well as specialised versions such as economic constitutionalism and environmental constitutionalism.

Since 9/11, however, and especially after the global financial crisis, there has been a marked decline in constitutionalism, with concerns over the rise of executive powers, discretionary powers, emergency powers, affronts to the rule of law, and various forms of authoritarianism, all of which seem to challenge liberal constitutionalism and have in turn been challenged by constitutional courts (if to little avail). Constitutionalism has now given way to a new cottage industry, captured by the label of ‘populism’ ..."   

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