By Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn

ISBN-10: 0674047664

ISBN-13: 9780674047662

In Constitutional identification, Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn argues structure acquires an id via experience—from a mixture of the political aspirations and commitments that specific a nation’s prior and the need to go beyond that previous. it's changeable yet proof against its personal destruction, and manifests itself in quite a few methods, as Jacobsohn exhibits in examples as faraway as India, eire, Israel, and the us. Jacobsohn argues that the presence of disharmony—both the tensions inside of a constitutional order and people who exist among a constitutional record and the society it seeks to regulate—is severe to figuring out the idea and dynamics of constitutional identification. He explores constitutional identity’s nice useful value for a few of constitutionalism’s so much vexing questions: Is an unconstitutional structure attainable? Is the judicial perform of utilizing international resources to unravel household felony disputes a possibility to important constitutional pursuits? How are the competing calls for of transformation and renovation in constitutional evolution to be balanced?

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12 const i t u t iona l ide n t i t y Constitution focused on the problematic application of the concept of identity to an entity comprised of states with their own separate identities. Thus, the “collective identity” of a union of states, as the American experience at its founding would also seem to exemplify, appears oxymoronic when contrasted with the other entities mentioned by Weiler. For those who see the American experience as showing the opposite— that a constitution can frame and establish the identity that fills the union’s deficit of traditional integrative resources—there is in this instance a history that clearly makes the weighing of costs and benefits a worthwhile undertaking.

Beau Breslin expresses a similar sentiment. “The act of writing a Constitution . . ” Beau Breslin, From Worlds to Words: Exploring Constitutional Functionality (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 49. 14 const i t u t iona l ide n t i t y development and clarification. “Those who constitute themselves in writing,” Anne Norton acutely observes, “too often remain willfully unconscious of the unending dialectic of constitution. ”30 In the Turkish case, for example, the “soul” of the constitution reflected the secular republican vision of its founder, but the actual constitutional identity of the polity had not been irrevocably fi xed in the inscribed details of the document’s provisions.

Thus, we might think of a constitution in a quite unconventional way, as an expression of defiance directed against an existing social structure whose transformation had been deemed desirable by the document’s framers. Prototypical of this constitutional model is the Turkish Constitution, which, it is safe to say, was not given to complacency in the mission assigned to it for the governance of society. Kemalist aspirations required that it assume a profoundly subversive role in re-constituting the personal and institutional priorities that had come to define public attitudes and behavior.

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Constitutional Identity by Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn


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