Every constitutional democracy needs a constitution. For a constitution to exist, it requires an excellent constitutional expert. A constitution should not only be seen to exist, but it should also meet the predetermined objectives, one of them being helping maintain political stability. When the list of comparative constitutional lawyers is mentioned, the name of Sujit Choudhry has to appear. He is without a doubt one of the most successful lawyers in this field. His understanding of comparative constitutional law is recognized globally. He is the founding director of an organization known as the Center for Constitutional Transitions, an organization that brings together experts from various parts of the world to come up with decisions that help law-makers to create solid laws.
To qualify as a constitutional designer, one needs good education and experience, both of which Sujit has accumulated over the years. He has served as an adviser on constitutional matters in various countries, mostly the emerging democracies. After serving in many countries that have faced the problems of political instability, Sujit has come up with an idea of creating a network that will help new democracies to excel in constitution making. It is in the mission of helping the world deal with political instability and good constitutional design that he came up with the idea of the Center for Constitutional Transitions.
Sujit Choudhry was born and raised in India. Today, he has law degrees from various universities such as Oxford, Harvard and Toronto. Currently, he is serving as a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught law in other universities such as the University of Toronto and New York University. Due to his experience and prowess on matters of constitution-making, he has been invited to many countries to talk about the importance of good constitutional design to abet political upheavals.
One of the topics that Sujit Choudhry is passionate about is the use of constitutional design to eliminate the challenges of populism. Populism is considered a great threat to constitutional democracy unless well taken care of through well-thought-out constitutional design. Politics in the face of constitutional order is viewed as a necessary evil. When resilience is built into the constitution, it is supposed to ensure that constitutional democracy is beyond the reach of politics. A good constitution should manage to keep the away bad influence of politics in a democracy. Sometimes, the majority created by a democratic election cannot lead to the failure of a constitutional democracy. A majority brought about by success in an electoral system does not mean that such jurisdiction will be under the rule of law. It is possible for populists to turn into autocrats who will use the majority numbers to dictate the rule of law, and which might not always be correct.
A well-designed constitution should cater for things such as human rights. Human rights are one of the core issues which are affected by populist majority administration. It is easy for the minority to face the wrath of the majority due to the difference in numbers. Sujit Choudhry suggests that political environment should be dictated by the constitutional design and not the other way round. The constitution should set the rules for political players to follow. The main reason a constitution is created is so that it can become self-enforcing to sustain peaceful political activities. Sujit believes this is the kind of constitutional resilience that should be applied today and the only way that constitutionalists should respond to populists. With the years of experience that Sujit has, he clearly knows what works and what cannot work for the people.
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