Article

Constitutionalism

Keith E. Whittington

in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199208425
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199208425.003.0016

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Constitutionalism

Preview

Constitutionalism is the constraining of government in order to better effectuate the fundamental principles of the political regime. It can be argued that, in a sense (often associated with Aristotle), every country has a constitution. That is, every country has a governmental framework which can be described and categorized. Alternatively, constitutions might be identified specifically with a written document that formalizes the framework of government. Constitutionalism has often been associated specifically with liberalism, with the protection of individual rights against the state. For liberals emerging from the New Deal and World War II, attitudes toward judicial review diverged into two broad camps. For the first camp, the New Deal was about democracy and institutional authority within a democracy. For the second, it was about substantive values and gaining control over the levers of power, including the power of judicial review. This article reviews three kinds of constitutionalism: normative constitutionalism, conceptual constitutionalism, and empirical constitutionalism.

Keywords: constitutionalism; normative constitutionalism; conceptual constitutionalism; empirical constitutionalism; democracy; judicial review; constitutions; liberalism; rights; power

Article.  8119 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Politics and Law

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