Constitutional Referendums: A Theoretical Enquiry

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Abstract

In recent decades the use of referendums to settle major constitutional questions has increased dramatically. Addressing this phenomenon as a case study in the relationship between democracy and constitutional sovereignty, this article has two aims.The first is to argue that these constitutional referendums are categorically different from ordinary, legislative referendums, and that this has important implications for theories of constitutional sovereignty. Secondly, the article suggests that the power of these constitutional referendums to re-order sovereign relations raises significant normative questions surrounding the appropriateness of their use. The article engages with these normative questions, enquiring whether the recent turn in republican political theory towards deliberative democracy may over a model through which sufficiently democratic referendum processes can be constructed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 360-83
Number of pages23
JournalModern Law Review
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Constitutional law
  • referendums
  • sovereignty
  • deliberative democracy

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