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5.24.2011

Ecuador's Courts; U.S. Constitutionalism

This post addresses two very distinct but interesting issues. ECUADOR: First, there is a fascinating article in the New York Times regarding the problems with Ecuador's legal system. It deals with Chevron's attempt to resist enforcement of a large judgment by attacking the nation's legal system. Without addressing Chevron's underlying conduct, what is especially troubling are the examples given of removal of judges by Ecuadorean political leaders. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/23/23greenwire-chevron-allegations-about-justice-system-strike-5160.html The irony is that Ecuadorean officials must now defend their legal system even though they acknowledge it is quite flawed and are trying to reform it at home. The other irony is that Chevron apparently sought to have the litigation in Ecuador but now is questioning the forum. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little (legal?) minds...

US: On another note, for those interested in a clever article asserting that both conservative and liberal constitutional theory in the US is converging, check out Professor James Ryan's piece "Laying Claim to the Constitution: The Promise of New Constitutionalism." http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1840704 I am skeptical of the author's thesis that this convergence can actually help progressives, as I think the developments he cites show that conservative originalism is winning. He further argues that this convergence involves an agreement among scholars on the fact that judges should look at text, history, and constitutional structure in resolving cases. Yet that doesn't seem like either textualism or originalism to me, especially since he also notes the importance of precedent. He concede that, at the margins, judicial discretion exists but, to me, those margins are frequently the most important issues. Nonetheless it's a great introduction to US constitutional theory, especially for those from other countries. About the only things he leaves out are popular constitutionalism, and critical theory approaches.

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