Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vermeule and Lanni on Ancient Constitutional Design

Adrian Vermeule and Adriaan Lanni, both of the Harvard Law School, have posted Constitutional Design in the Ancient World. Here is the intriguing abstract:
This paper identifies two distinctive features of ancient constitutional design that have largely disappeared from the modern world: constitution-making by single individuals and constitution-making by foreigners. We consider the virtues and vices of these features, and argue that under plausible conditions single founders and outsider founders offer advantages over constitution-making by representative bodies of citizens, even in the modern world. We also discuss the implications of adding single founders and outsider founders to the constitutional toolkit by describing how constitutional legitimacy would work, and how constitutional interpretation would be conducted, under constitutions that display either or both of the distinctive features of ancient constitutional design.
Image credit: Zalecus

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