Category: Constitutional Law Expert

Professor Sujit Choudhry on Crises in Constitutional Democracies

Politics and constitutional law are the main areas of focus for Professor Sujit Choudhry, one of the leading scholars in the field of such research. He is highly versed in all forms of constitutional law, including the development of constitutional law and its evolution over time. He has written and published a number of pieces on these various subjects, and his most recent piece discusses what could be a growing issue in constitutional democracies

Choudhry’s discussion begins with a dissection of a tweet published by ex-Attorney General Eric Holder in which Holder claimed that if Robert Mueller or the Russia investigation were hindered in any way by the Trump administration, the American people would have to come out and peacefully protest the move to show that they don’t accept the unconstitutionality of the situation. Choudhry calls this ‘red line’, which is really nothing more than a constitutional rule, a focal point. Another focal point is presidential term limits.

According to Professor Sujit Choudhry, when these red lines are crossed, it represents a sort of failure of democracy. He provides an example based on the situation in Poland that has been evolving since a right-wing group obtained majority control over the legislature. They have since been using legal means to change the constitution so they can remain in power, which starts to blur the lines between a true democracy and an absolute dictatorship.

The commentary released by Choudhry reflects some of the political climate in the United States simply because of the attitudes and efforts of the Trump administration to undermine the legal process. He claims that the threats to democracy have been steadily growing since the Cold War, and that they are more likely now than ever before. Parties that want to gain control are learning that it is easier to do so legally than by force.

For more of Sujit and his work, click on http://constitutionaltransitions.org/director/#Choudhry

Essentially, the idea put forth by Choudhry centers around the notion that democracies must be watched and regulated very closely if they are to remain legitimate. He warns that ‘democratic backsliding’ could send a functioning democracy back to authoritarian rule. Part of this, he reasons, is that the world’s stage has accepted that democracy, at least on its face, is the optimal system. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a system that calls itself democratic has to actually follow any truly democratic practices. It just means that world leaders are getting better at amassing and holding power by misleading the people.  Related article on blogs.law.nyu.edu.

Connect with Choudhry on Crunchbase.