Constitutionalism and Democracy
This course explores the meaning of constitutionalism, its basic features, and its relationship to democracy. It is assumed that the central categories of constitutionalism – basic rights, rule of law, limited government, constitutional judiciary – are relevant for political science and political theory. We begin with a conceptual and normative inquiry into the notions of constitutionalism and constitution. Next we discuss the politics of constitution-making. We proceed by exploring basic elements of the constitutional content: fundamental rights and formal institutional arrangements. Following the premise that the constitutional text matters to the extent it effectively promotes liberty, equality and the rule of law, we will pay attention to both ‘law in books’ and ‘law in action’. Upon these analyses, we will address two issues that feature importantly in the contemporary constitutionalist discourse: the state of emergency and the EU constitutionalism.
By the end of the course students will acquire an understanding of the key categories of constitutional democracy.
Each topic will be covered by a lecture and a seminar. Each week, one student will be asked to prepare a short presentation for each seminar class, as the basis for a more concentrated discussion. There will be a mid-term, in-class, closed-book exam after we complete topic six. Students will be asked to answer a couple of short questions that will address issues raised in the first six topics. There will be an end-term, in-class, closed-book exam in the last week of the course. Students will be asked to answer a couple of short questions that will address issues raised in the topics 7-11.