What is The Best Type of Constitution?

mary offutt
Sep 26, 2016 · 3 min read

There are three different types of constitutions all based on the same idea of what a constitution is supposed to entail; limit the government, embody political ideals, and to express collective identity. All of these go under the definition of constitutionalism, which is the commitment of a polity to govern itself in conformity with meta-norms. With these ideas comes the idea that a constitution could be good and bad for a country. With a constitution could lead to a form of dictatorship due to the rules within that could control local and state government and give all the power the federal government. The three types of constitutions are absolutist, legislative supremacy, and the higher law. The major question is which type out of the three is the best form of a constitution?

The first of constitution is the absolutist constitution. In this type of constitution it gives the government the authority to produce and change legal norms including the constitution. By being able to change the norms shows that the rulers are above the law. In this type of system the norms reflect the absolute power rather than restricting the power of the people who govern. This type of constitution rejects popular sovereignty, rights, and separation of powers. An example of a country with this type of constitution would be the USSR and other Central European states that are currently under communist party control.

The second type of constitution is legislative supremacy. This form of constitution provides two things. The first being a stable set of government institutions. The second being, the constitution provides elections to the legislature. With this type of constitution one thing leads to another. Elections that are provided by the constitution legitimize legislative authority, which leads to legislative majorities legitimize statutory authority.

The norm in a legislative supremacy is the rule of legislative sovereignty, which has a couple of different consequences. One of the consequences is the constitution is not entrenched, which means there are no special procedures for revising the constitution. Due to this the constitution is changed through a majority vote. An example of this would be in the British House of Commons. The House of Commons abolished the veto of the House of Lords, which removed the last constraint on its own law making powers

The final type of constitution is the higher law constitution. This type of constitution has a similar idea with the second type being the constitution establishes state institutions and links the institutions to society through elections. This form of constitution adds something on top of that though it adds substantive constraints on the exercise of public authority through constitutional rights. This form constitution also establishes an independent judicial way of enforcing rights.

In the higher law constitutions legislative sovereignty is rejected. This type of constitution is also known as the new constitutionalism. This is very similar to the constitution that is shown in the United States. The power of the people is the major source of power through elections. The constitution shows the basic rights of the people the basis for the government and the structure of the country that was written for the people by the people of the United States. In this type of constitution unlike the second type it gives specific instructions on how the constitution can be revised.

To answer the question that was presented in the beginning. There is not truly one form of constitution that is the best. Each of the three are unique in their own. The countries that use each type of constitution are working and successful countries, which is why different forms of constitutions are made. Not one country is the same in how they are run. If every country was made on the basis on the same types of rules and ideas what would make them different from each other. The world would be made up on one large country, but due to the differences in constitution the world is made up of hundreds of different nations.