Ideological neutrality of constitutional design institutions

Available in Russian

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Author: Dmitry Stepanov

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-3-46-70

Keywords: democratization; идеология; инклюзивность; конституционный дизайн; модель кабинета; политический процесс; теорема медианного избирателя; форма правления


Is there such a thing as ideological neutrality in constitutional design? The author of this paper tries to build a provocative thesis that some core elements of constitutional design are in fact ideologically neutral. This paper provides an overview of how ideologies may affect the current discourse and how through this discourse they tend to create constraints to basic institutions of constitutional design. The author distinguishes three sets of constitutional law issues that are vulnerable to ideologies: human rights, core fundamental principles outlined in any given constitution that establish the basics of a particular state, and specific institutions of constitutional design. The block most affected by any ideology is human rights, while the least ones are particular institutions of constitutional design. Therefore, a nuanced theory of the ideological neutrality of constitutional design should be viewed as a continuum where one end of the spectrum is presented by a set of detailed constitutional norms which are more or less ideologically neutral, whereas constitutional principles are entirely found in terrain of ideology. But even this representation of constitutional design has some complexity: the author argues that whereas specific provisions of constitutional design are immune to ideology as it is understood in the right-left ideological spectrum, they cannot remain ideologically neutral on other dimensions, including the libertarian-authoritarian spectrum. Therefore, the ideological neutrality of constitutional design is a more complex and complicated problem when it comes to different ideology continuums. The paper concludes with a brief outline of a future research agenda for highly politicized and authoritarian societies: even in those societies legal scholars have some room for maneuver, such as to work safely on constitutional law issues and even to promote some ideas for legal reform in this area of law.

About the author: Dmitry Stepanov – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, LL.M., MPA, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Stepanov D. Ideologicheskaya neytral’nost’ institutov konstitutsionnogo dizayna [Ideological neutrality of constitutional design institutions]. Srav­nitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.2, pp.46–70. (In Russian).


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