Constitutional Expert Sees Modern Threat to Democratic Principles

Sujit Choudhry is concerned about the future of constitutional democracies, including the United States. Choudhry, the famed international scholar and expert on constitutional law and politics, issued this concern in response to a tweet by Eric Holder, who served as the nation’s attorney general in the Obama administration.

In his tweet, Holder described the potential termination of Special Counsel Robert Mueller as crossing the “red line” that defines American democratic principles. Holder also said that any action to disrupt Mueller’s investigation should prompt peaceful demonstrations by American citizens. In his response, Choudhry noted that Holder’s red line statement did not recommended subsequent court or legislative action, and he questioned why public opinion should dictate what should be done in response to a Mueller dismissal by President Donald Trump. Choudhry described Holder’s “red line” premise as a “focal point” when it comes to constitutional rules. He also expressed surprise that Holder failed to mention the possibility of a legal challenge should Mueller’s investigation be terminated.

According to Sujit Choudhry, presidential term limits that restrict the time anyone can serve as chief executive also represent focal points that could be broken. Under his scenario, the president could declare a state of emergency or even attempt to suspend elections. Disrespecting term limits or interfering with criminal investigations, both of which are possible, are considered by Choudhry to be failures of the democratic system.

Outside of the United States, Choudhry has seen setbacks in attempts to establish democratic governments. He noted that the political party in power in Poland, though popularly elected, has undermined the democratic principles that began to develop after the end of the Cold War.

Born in India, Sujit Choudhry today serves as a professor at the University of California, Berkley. He is also a founding director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions and has advised others who are developing constitutional systems in their own countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Nepal and South Africa.

Read more on http://constitutionaltransitions.org/director/#Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry has written several books, including “The Migration of Constitutional Ideas” and “Constitution Making,” and more than 90 book chapters and individual articles, see works.bepress.com. He is also the member of several organizations, including the International Society of Public Law.

Connect with Choudhry on Crunchbase