By Frank P. Grad, Robert F. Williams

Constitutional reform calls for not just sturdy principles but additionally the facility to translate these rules into language that may effectuate the drafters’ goals. This book—the moment of 3 volumes on nation constitutions—is the fundamental consultant for these serious about constitutional reform. It identifies the recurrent difficulties that reformers face in drafting or amending nation constitutions and explores how these difficulties should be addressed. It additionally explains why drafting nation constitutions is a particular firm, various from the drafting of different felony files.

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In fact, probably only one-tenth or even a lesser fraction of time is spent in formal composition, while the overwhelmingly greater portion of drafting endeavors is commonly devoted to research and investigation to clarify and elaborate the intent of the policy maker, and assisting in the determination of the best means of achieving that intent. The drafter, in order to be effective, must normally participate closely and as early as possible in the policy-making process. 3 The drafter’s participation in the policy-making process is that of a researcher and expert technical consultant, who can help the policy maker arrive at sound decisions by providing data to evaluate the effects of particular policies and by calling attention to policy alternatives, together with supporting information, to aid the policy maker in weighing their relative merits.

Not only must the factors of importance and enduring quality be weighed in respect to any provision in its entirety, but they must be brought to bear also on its specific detail. A provision that, taken as a whole, serves an important and enduring purpose, may nevertheless become an obsolescent limitation on effective government, even a barrier to the attainment of contemporary aims, if its “procedural” detail fails to meet contemporary needs. Because details of administration are subject to more rapid change than major principles of government, obsolescence can be expected to hit them more rapidly and more sharply than more general provisions.

The need for change in this area is a matter of wise consideration under the specific circumstances of each state. In both of the above examples, inclusion in the state constitution seemed on balance to be warranted, at least at the time the issue was first presented. In many of the instances that follow, a weighing of the factors ought to have resulted in an opposite conclusion. Inflexibility and its consequences are most readily and simply observable in the instances where a constitution has sought to set specific standards for all times, such as by fixing the governor’s or other officers’ salaries, or by setting standards of value or coinage.

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