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Mark Tushnet, Varieties of Constitutionalism (Harv. Pub. L. Working Paper No. 23-31, 2023).

Abstract: This essay, to appear in a revised version in the Elgar Research Handbook on Constitutionalism and Legal Theory, deals with two broad varieties of constitutionalism: political versus legal/judicial constitutionalism, and procedural (liberal) and programmatic (substantive) constitutionalism. The varieties are continuums rather than sharply defined categories, of course. It examines the arguments political constitutionalists use to reject challenges that the rules of ruling must be entrenched against majoritarian revision and enforced as law by courts, and their defense of political constitutionalism as a sufficiently stable method of resolving disagreements about the rules of ruling. It then examines the arguments legal/judicial constitutionalists make for a two-fold proceduralization to deal with reasonable disagreements about substantive policy, the first into a constitution and the second into judicial resolution of disagreement through the use of modes of reasoning that do not reproduce the underlying disagreements (and notes the challenge that such reasoning actually reproduces such disagreements but obfuscates that fact). Merely procedural constitutions must deal with, among other things, the constitutional version of the liberal paradox of tolerance, which some do through doctrines of militant democracy. Substantive constitutions here are divided into three subcategories: identitarian (ascribing a specific vision of nationhood, often ethnonationalist, into the constitution); constitutions incorporating second- and later generation rights (economic and environmental); and transformative constitutions. The essay examines various difficulties associated with each of these forms.