Friday, October 07, 2005

Constitutional Length?

My roommate asked me today why everyone’s new constitutions (Afghanistan, Iraq, EU) are book-length-features, when we could make due with two or so pages. This comparison has certainly been remarked upon in the rightblogistan, generally as a subtext for how much better we are.

I tend to think the short Constitution was from a naïve and rather good-willed time, and we are the exception not the rule. These days people are generally unwilling to not address political issues of key importance to them in their founding document. But does anyone else have any knowledge or ideas that might explain this?


At 4:40 PM, Blogger alex said...

I think that the United States' Constitution was, in many ways, a new technology in 1787. Whatever its faults, it was a fairly bold approach to governance. The last 200-plus years of American history have worked out a lot of kinks and lacks of foresight, and the reach of the Constitution is much greater than what is held in its relatively few original pages. If we were to add into the page-count the text of the important Constitutional law since the founding, I doubt the Iraqi draft would be longer.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Rousseau said...

I'm certainly curious what "constitutional law" we have that would count in making a constitution today (and could be found in its modern counterparts). Do you just mean land-mark supreme court cases, or something more?


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