[A]mong the world’s democracies … constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s. The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II.
– Professors David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia, in a forthcoming article that will be published in the New York University Law Review. They conducted a study that was discussed in a very interesting article by Adam Liptak, ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World.
And perhaps with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Which constitutions does she prefer over our own founding document?
From the New York Times:
In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the [apparently waning popularity of the U.S constitution]: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. “Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1,” he said.
In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.
Thankfully, the Constitution of the United States still has its defenders. See, e.g., Mike Kelsey of the Heritage Foundation, who notes that the U.S. Constitution “is still among the shortest and most elegantly written constitutions in the world,” one that “create[s] a framework for a free people to confront the political questions of their times.”
P.S. The title of this post is tongue in cheek. I do not think that RBG hates America.
The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution
[New York University Law Review via SSRN]
‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World
[New York Times]
Justice Ginsburg: “I Would Not Look to the U.S. Constitution”
[The Foundry / Heritage Foundation]
Canada: Constitutional Superpower? [WSJ Law Blog]
Popularity of Once-Much-Emulated US Constitution in Foreign Countries Now in ‘Free Fall,’ Study Says [ABA Journal]