Constitutional Endurance

Tom Ginsburg

This Handbook chapter summarizes the literature on constitutional endurance. Virtually every function ascribed to constitutions assumes that constitutions will endure over time, yet real-world constitutions do not last very long in many countries. This chapter first asks whether endurance is a good thing, and then examines positive theories of endurance, as well as observed patterns, summarizing earlier work by Elkins, Ginsburg and Melton (2009). It then has brief case study discussions of the U.S., India and Sweden.