Sujit Choudhry Outlines Failures in Constitutional Democracies

Sujit Choudhry is a highly-respected scholar in the fields of constitutional law and politics, and he has a great deal of experience with constitutional law as it relates to changes in political systems. Many of his written pieces have been published, and his most recent piece details what could be a growing problem with constitutional democracies across the globe (

To begin the discussion, Choudhry brings up the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller. There were rumors for the longest time that Trump might fire the special counselor, and many felt that would represent a hard red line that would represent a gross overstepping of constitutional authority. Choudhry refers to these red lines as focal points since they are used to galvanize the public against the unconstitutional actions of the government. Presidential term limits are another such focal point that is often discussed.

Professor Choudhry feels that these issues reflect a sort of failure in the democratic process. He compares the current situation in the United States with a similar situation in Poland. There, in 2015, a right-wing nationalist party took control of the legislature, and they have used their position to effectively dismantle the constitution of Poland to ensure their party’s survival and continued power.

Sujit Choudhry draws a connection between the right-wing group in Poland and the Trump administration because they have some striking similarities. He says that the presidency is in danger of becoming an autocracy, and that Trump firing Mueller would effectively be a statement that Trump believes that is already the case.

What Choudhry suggests overall is that those who don’t truly want a democratic system of government have learned that using existing democratic infrastructure is one of the most effective ways for gaining control of a government. He calls this ‘democratic backsliding’ since it’s essentially an imbalance of the democratic process that allows for a legal path to something other than democracy. This is so prevalent now because world leaders understand that the public wants democracy everywhere. For many people, simply calling a system of government ‘democratic’ is enough. True vigilance is required from the populace to ensure democracy remains intact.

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