Ginsburg and New Website Connect Constitutional Scholars and Drafters

Ginsburg and New Website Connect Constitutional Scholars and Drafters
U.S. Institute of Peace and the Comparative Constitutions Project
February 20, 2009

The U.S. Institute of Peace and the Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) have announced the launch of constitutionmaking.org, a site intended to provide people engaged in constitutional drafting access to essential materials, insights, and expertise.

Constitutionmaking.org was created by a team of scholars and drafters—including the University of Chicago Law School's Tom Ginsburg—with the guiding principle that those writing constitutions should have access to (1) a variety of options for constitutional design and (2) analysis of the consequences of design choices.  To this end, the site features three basic components:

  • OPTION REPORTS.  This section includes a series of reports on a wide-ranging set of topics that are central to historical and contemporary constitutions.  These reports provide sample provisions and information on trends and patterns in the use of different constitutional provisions.  The data and analysis for these reports come from an original set of data on the content of constitutions that the researchers have been collecting since 2005.
  • CONSTITUTONAL REPOSITORY.  The site also includes a growing repository of constitutional texts.  The researchers have identified the major constitutional changes for each independent state since 1789 and have collected 95% of the documents associated with these amendments and replacements.  Some of these documents are under copyright, but the repository will include all publicly available materials. 
  • FORUM.  A third component of constitutionmaking.org features regular commentary from scholars on issues and events surrounding constitutional design. The goal is the same as that for constitutionmaking.org more generally: to connect scholars and drafters.  The forum endeavors to bring to light two sorts of information: (1) reports of constitutional deliberation (and challenges therein) from various corners of the world, and (2) reports of noteworthy research on the subject. The ideas are serious but the tone is direct and lively.  Posts have covered recent constitutional activity in Bolivia, Venezuela, Thailand, and Burma.
Faculty: 
Tom Ginsburg