Posted: April 4th, 2014 | By: Stacy Jones
Professor Gene Mazo presents at the Third Annual Conference of the Young Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, which is gathering at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore. The conference is being April 4-5, 2014.
“My presentation seeks to advance a theory of constitution-making: how the process should be carried out, by whom, and, especially, when. It will focus on the period of time between the fall of what might be the old constitutional order and the creation of a new one, a period of transitional uncertainty when political actors have the opportunity to create new legal and political institutions, and during which the ‘constitutional moment’ takes place,” he continues. “I argue that the theory which goes furthest towards explaining constitutional choice is path-dependency. This is a broad term that is often used to convey the idea that one’s range of future options may be constrained by what was in place beforehand: it tells us, in other words, that political institutions rely on, and indeed may be constrained by, their predecessors. When new constitutions are written during democratic transitions, they are more often than not based on the constitution that existed previously. This means that new constitutions cannot, as some scholars have argued, simply be the product of the self-interested actors who establish them. Indeed, constitutions are able to reflect the preferences of powerful actors only when the constraints of prior institutions are not present. But in the real world, this rarely happens because framers do not draft new constitutions in a vacuum.”
Eugene Mazo is an expert in constitutional law and the law of democracy. He writes in the areas of constitutional law, election law, and the separation of powers, and he teaches those courses and also contracts, torts, and civil procedure. Professor Mazo’s research concerns constitutional governance, democratic development, and the regulation of the political process, with particular emphasis on the regulation of elections and the separation of powers.
Details and full program: