Legitimate Intergenerational Constitutionalism

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Iñigo González-Ricoy


This paper examines the legitimacy conditions of constitutionalism by examining one particular type of constitutional provision: provisions aimed at advancing future generations’ interests. After covering the main forms that such provisions can adopt, it first considers three legitimacy gains of constitutionalising them. It then explores two legitimacy concerns that so doing raises. Given that constitutions are difficult to amend, constitutionalisation may threaten future generations’ sovereignty. And it may also make the constitution’s content impossible to adapt to changing circumstances and interests. Finally, the paper examines the ways in which such concerns may be addressed at the adoption, formulation, and amendment stages. In particular, it discusses if the use of sunset clauses and regular constitutional conventions may, and under what conditions, successfully address such concerns.

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Author Biography

Iñigo González-Ricoy, Universitat de Barcelona

Iñigo González-Ricoy is Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Barcelona. His research is in democratic and constitutional theory. He has recently co-edited a book, Institutions for Future Generations, forthcoming with Oxford University Press.