Which type
June 18, 2001 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Which type of Constitution is better? A MeFi thread earlier discussed the room for error which the US Consitution leaves. So, here's the question: Do we like the very specific but restrictive 136 Article Mexican version or the brief but dynamic 7 Article plus Amendments American-style versions?
posted by Kevs (11 comments total)
I don't know about other states, but the Texas consitution is more of the specific and restrictive style. No necessary and proper clause. Just something else to consider..
posted by reishus at 5:21 PM on June 18, 2001

Lots more here, with a great cross-referencing index.

The US affirmation of non-emunerative rights is rhetorically and politically brilliant: and the wording itself is perhaps too much of a rhetorical treasure for the sake of constitutional evolution. (It has the same cultural status as the King James Bible.)

But I like the new Swiss constitution a lot.
posted by holgate at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2001

The flaw that I detect in the Swiss constitution is an excess of specificity. One of the things that Constitutions should never contain IMHO is numbers. (They have an annoying tendency to be anachronistic e.g. 7th Amendment)
posted by Octaviuz at 6:59 PM on June 18, 2001

The flaw that I detect in the Swiss constitution is an excess of specificity. One of the things that Constitutions should never contain IMHO is numbers. (They have an annoying tendency to reduce the timelessness of the document e.g. Art. I Sec 9 )
posted by Octaviuz at 7:03 PM on June 18, 2001

for the mexican part, i got that georgetowns AC is down. I am contemplating irony.
posted by clavdivs at 7:12 PM on June 18, 2001

hey, I didn't post that first one (well OK, I did click on it but then I hit the stop button, it's not my fault, I blame him!
posted by Octaviuz at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2001

Personally, I think that a Constitution should be a framework for how a nation is run. For instance, a preamble should be a non-binding statement of intent (for instance, "In Nation X, we shall forever have a nation dedicated to the ideal that the state is never more important than the individual"). The other laws should designate what TYPES of laws and regulations can be made and how the Constitution can be changed. Anything more (such as the numbers mentioned above) tend to be outdated well before the nation extinguishes itself.

Also, I'm surprised that the Swiss Constitution makes a reference to religion. I always thought that the Middle European countries (Switz., Czech R., Slovakia) had large atheist populations.
posted by Kevs at 9:03 PM on June 18, 2001

I'm biased. I like the English constitution.

But Matt, they have no written constitution as such.

Yep. Harder to defile that way.
posted by Ezrael at 10:56 PM on June 18, 2001

FDR was a fan of the unwritten constitution too, but then he would be.
posted by thirteen at 11:17 PM on June 18, 2001

Big fan of the US Constitution because of its non-specifity (with some exceptions, as Oct points out). Bigger fan of the Declaration of Independence, though...
One can think of a Constitution as being like an extremely well-written software application: if designed properly, it makes concrete a few core, generalized tenets but allows a good deal of freedom to interpret, refine and otherwise customize the law in a way that best suits those affected. In other words, it recognizes the developers of a Constitution (or software program) can't possibly anticipate every circumstance or contingency that may arise, and therefore should allow for citizens (or users) to make decisions with increasing autonomy the more particular the situation.
posted by hincandenza at 12:41 AM on June 19, 2001

Harder to defile that way.

Well, the British attitude is to regard the state as a work-in-progress. Though that would be easier to deal with if the constitutional elements that persist in statute law were less egregious. Our Glorious Tony has baulked from even considering the Act of Settlement, despite Prince Charles' reticence to be "Defender of the Faith" in the old formula. And of course, you have the good ol' use of royal prerogative to bypass Parliament and exercise arbitrary power. Heh.

Constutions are national algorithms.
posted by holgate at 6:11 AM on June 19, 2001

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