Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law

Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law by John E. Finn

By: John E. Finn

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In this compelling study, which unites the fields of constitutional theory and comparative politics, John E. Finn examines how the efforts of two western liberal democracies, the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany, to cope with domestic terrorism threatens their constitutional integrity. Finn argues first that widespread political violence challenges the presuppositions of constitutional authority in any liberal democracy, namely that reason and deliberation, and not passion or will, can be the basis of political community. Terrorism therefore constitutes both a specific type of constitutional emergency and a challenge to the more general enterprise of constitutional maintenance. He then proceeds to review the efforts of the United Kingdom and Germany to control political violence through emergency legislation, and considers to what extent such measures comport with the demands of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
Publication Date:
27 / 12 / 1990

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