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All nation states, whether ancient or newly created, must examine their constitutional fundamentals to keep their constitutions relevant and dynamic. Constitutional change has greater legitimacy when the questions are debated before the people and accepted by them. Who are the peoples in this state? What role should they have in relation to the government? What rights should they have? Who should be Head of State? What is our constitutional relationship with other nation states? What is the influence of international law on our domestic system? What process should constitutional change follow? In this volume, scholars, practitioners, politicians, public officials, and young people explore these questions and others in relation to the New Zealand constitution and provide some thought-provoking answers. This book is recommended for anyone seeking insight into how a former British colony with bicultural foundations is making the transition to a multicultural society in an increasingly complex and globalised world.
There is a unique constitutional relationship between Aboriginal people and the Canadian state - a relationship that does not exist between other Canadians and the state. It's from this central premise that Patrick Macklem builds his argument in this outstanding and significant work. Why does this special relationship exist? What does it entail in terms of Canadian constitutional order? There are, Macklem argues, four complex social facts that lie at the heart of the relationship. First, Aboriginal people belong to distinctive cultures that were and continue to be threatened by non-Aboriginal beliefs, philosophies, and ways of life. Second, prior to European contact, Aboriginal people lived in and occupied North America. Third, prior to European contact, Aboriginal people not only occupied North America; they exercised sovereign authority over persons and territory. Fourth, Aboriginal people participated in and continue to participate in a treaty process with the Crown. Together, these four social conditions are exclusive to the Aboriginal people of North America and constitute what Macklem refers to as indigenous difference. Exploring the constitutional significance of indigenous difference in light of the challenges it poses to the ideal of equal citizenship, Macklem engages an interdisciplinary methodology that treats constitutional law as an enterprise that actively distributes power, primarily in the form of rights and jurisdiction, among a variety of legal actors, including individuals, groups, institutions, and governments. On this account, constitutional law refers to an ongoing project of aspiring to distributive justice, disciplined but not determined by text, structure, or precedent. Far from threatening equality, constitutional protection of indigenous difference promotes equal and therefore just distributions of constitutional power. The book details constitutional rights to Aboriginal people that protect interests associated with culture, territory, sovereignty, and the treaty process, and explores the circumstances in which these rights can be interfered with by the Canadian state. It also examines the relation between these rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Feedoms, and proposes extensive reform of existing treaty processes in order to protect and promote their exercise. Macklem's book offers a challenge to traditional understandings of the constitutional status of indigenous peoples, relevant not only to Canadian debates but also to those in other parts of the world where indigenous peoples are asserting greater autonomy over their collective futures.
This book commemorates the bicentenary of the landmark Spanish Constitution of 1812. Drafted by Spanish and colonial Spanish American liberals (and non-liberals) holed up in Cadiz as Napoleon’s troops occupied the surrounding hills, this war-time Constitution set out radically to redefine ‘the Spanish nation’ for a new age. In the event, it divided Spaniards and threw into sharp relief the question of Spain’s legitimacy in her American colonies. Cadiz 1812 is a defining moment in the modern history of the Spanish-speaking world. Bringing together specialists in the history, politics and culture of Spain and Latin America (the Cadiz text was a cultural and ethnic document as much as a politico-legal one), this volume represents the only large-scale commemoration in the UK of one of the world’s first liberal constitutional tracts. The point of the book, however, as of the conference and accompanying exhibition on which it is based, is not solely to reflect on the significance and repercussions of Cadiz 1812 on both sides of the Hispanic Atlantic at the time. The book also considers later interpretations of Cadiz 1812 and examines, in addition, other constitutions in the Spanish-speaking world beyond 1812. Subjects treated include: Spain’s crisis of absolutism; the Inquisition before the Constitution; liberalism and Catholicism; discourses of the 1812 Constitution; the question of sovereignty; political theatre during the Napoleonic invasion; Goya; the Spanish crisis in the British press; Lord Holland and Blanco White; Pérez Galdós’s Cádiz; futuristic literary representations of Spain’s nineteenth-century crisis; political and philosophical echoes in Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – in Cúcuta, Mexico, Argentina and Cuba; and, finally, politico-philosophical echoes in Spain – in the Liberal Triennium, in the mid-nineteenth century, in the Spanish Second Republic, in 1978, and in 2011 in the midst of the financial (but it is also a constitutional) crisis. The volume includes a specially-conducted interview with Spanish politician Alfonso Guerra, one of the figures behind the Spanish Constitution of 1978.
In Reconstituting Authority, William Moddelmog explores the ways in which American law and literature converged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through close readings of significant texts from the era, he reveals not only how novelists invoked specific legal principles and ideals in their fictions but also how they sought to reconceptualize the boundaries of law and literature in ways that transformed previous versions of both legal and literary authority. Moddelmog does not assume a sharp distinction between literary and legal institutions and practices but shows how writers imagined the two fields as engaged in the same cultural process. He argues that because the law was instrumental in setting the terms by which concepts such as race, gender, nationhood, ownership, and citizenship were defined in the nineteenth century, authors challenging those definitions had to engage the law on its own terrain: to place their work in a dialogue with the law by telling stories that were already authorized (though perhaps suppressed) by legal institutions. The first half of the book is devoted in separate chapters to William Dean Howells, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Pauline Hopkins. The focus shifts from large theoretical concerns to questions of contract and native sovereignty, to issues of African American citizenship and racial entitlement. In each case the discussion is rooted in a larger consideration of the rule (or misrule) of law. The second half of the book turns from the rule of law to the issue of property, specifically the Lockean version of the self that tied identity to legal conceptions of property and economic value. In separate discussions of Charles Chesnutt, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser, Reconstituting Authority reveals authors as closely engaged with those changing perspectives on property and identity, in ways that challenged the racial, gendered, and economic consequences of America's possessive individualism.
For years the public has become increasingly disillusioned and cynical about its governmental institutions. In the face of alarming problems-most notably the $400 billion budget deficit-the government seems deadlocked, reduced to partisan posturing and bickering, with the president and Congress blaming each other for failure. And neither party can be held accountable. The public tendency is to blame individual leaders- or politicians as a class-but an insistent and growing number of experienced statesmen and political scientists believe that much of the difficulty can be traced to the governmental structure itself, designed in the eighteenth century and essentially unchanged since then. Is that inherited constitutional system adequate to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, or has the time come for fundamental change? Should we adopt an electoral system that encourages unified control of the presidency, the Senate and the House? Lengthen terms of office? Limit congressional terms? Abolish or modify the electoral college? Introduce a mechanism for calling special elections? Permit legislators to hold executive offices? Redistribute the balance of powers within the governmental system? In this revised edition of his highly acclaimed 1986 volume, James Sundquist reviews the origins and rationale of the constitutional structure and the current debate about whether reform is needed, then raises practical questions about what changes might work best if a consensus should emerge that the national government is too prone to stalemate to meet its responsibilities. Analyzing the main proposals advanced to adapt the Constitution to current conditions, he attempts to separate the workable ideas from the unworkable, the effective from the ineffective, the possibly feasible from the wholly infeasible, and finally arrives at a set of recommendations of his own.

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