Sujit Choudhry: The Thoughtful Constitutionalist

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It can be easy, in a country like America, to take a constitution for granted. For American citizens, the U.S. Constitution seems to have almost been written in a vacuum, the only connections to when it was written being the words themselves and a few oil paintings of those present for the process. Of course, no constitution that has ever been written or will ever be written is written in a vacuum. There are specific events and challenges occurring at that specific time in history which leave an indelible mark upon the finished product.   For additional reading, check

Sujit Choudhry seeks to understand these processes, and, more importantly, assist key policy influencers in countries around the world in understanding these processes, so that when a new constitution is written, it is fair and equitable for everyone in the country it is written for. Sujit Choudhry is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, which mobilizes leading international experts to complete research projects on relevant topics to create “evidence-based policy options” for those in positions of power during the constitution-writing process. Click on for further reference.

One example of Sujit Choudhry’s work is when, earlier this year, he traveled to Kiev, Ukraine, to discuss the Ukranian semi-presidential system with other policy experts. His vast experience in constitutional law, both as director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, and as the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law, gave him prominence among those present. Additional article on

He asserted that “democratization in Ukraine has not been stable,” citing challenges such as concentrated presidential power and weak political parties.  Click this for a related article.

Sujit Choudhry’s commitment to understand the entire situation was evidenced by him being joined by Vladimir Vasilenko, Ukraine’s representative on Human Rights, Sergyi Holovatyi, a member of the constitutional commission of Ukraine, and Viktor Musiaka, presidential representative in the Ukrainian Supreme Court, as well as other prominent members of the Ukranian government. Being willing to listen to stakeholders throughout the process is indicative of Sujit Choudhry’s continued humility despite his own considerable knowledge and success in this field. When all voices are heard, the resulting policies and recommendations are more likely to stand the test of time. More to read on

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