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Response or Comment

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Boston University School of Law




This comment assesses Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou’s critique of arguments that long, frequently amended constitutions tend to be bad constitutions. It also criticizes their analysis of the purposes of amendment, arguing that most amendments, in some way, aim to respond to imperfections or correct flaws in existing constitutions. Furthermore (drawing on the analysis of John Marshall), the comment sketches some general criteria for a good constitution: that it should be a “great outline,” not a detailed legal code; that it should be difficult to amend; and that it should not be amended frequently. Finally (building on the analysis of Jack Balkin), it maintains that a good constitution would be capable of serving as “basic law,” “higher law,” and “our law.”


Published as: "Comment on Amendment-Metrics: The Good, the Bad and the Frequently Amended Constitution," in The Foundations and Traditions of Constitutional Amendment , Richard Albert, Xenophon Contiades & Alkmene Fotiadou, eds., Hart Publishing (2017).

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