The Dead Hand of the Past? Toward an Understanding of “Constitutional Veneration”

The Dead Hand of the Past? Toward an Understanding of “Constitutional Veneration” Some observers argue that excessive veneration of the U.S. Constitution has blinded Americans to its flaws and made them reluctant to consider necessary reforms. In this paper, we test the assumptions that underlie these claims. We report the results of two survey experiments that examine the existence and effects of constitutional status quo bias at both the state and federal levels. Our findings support the notion that a proposed policy involving constitutional change imbues the constitutional status quo with normative value and, in turn, disposes individuals to resist the proposal. These results hold even at the state level. In addition to the institutional obstacles to constitutional amendment, therefore, we find evidence of another, psychological barrier to constitutional change that is based specifically in a sense of constitutional attachment. Political Behavior Springer Journals

The Dead Hand of the Past? Toward an Understanding of “Constitutional Veneration”

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Springer US
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
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