Three Constitutions


The European, the American and the Icelandic constitutions.

Like beating a dead horse

I've said time and time again that the silly thing about Europe is its fear of doing anything that might mimic the U.S.A..  If you want the Europeans to change to a simpler constitution, the last thing you should do is compare to the one prepared in North America.


Lord, grant me the strength to change the things I can;

the serenity to deal with the things I cannot change;

and the wisdom to know the difference.

So, what is your point?

@ Vanhauwaert

The subject at hand was clearly the 'size', and thus indirectly the appropriate 'volume' of the content of a Constitution. 

It will always be the role of the 'supreme (or final) court' in ANY judicial system to interpret the constitutionality of laws made by legislatures.  That will be your "current state of affairs" always and everywhere.  And, there is no a priori reason to assume that this "interpretative work" will be any less 'voluminous' in one polity versus another. 

So, your point was irrelevant, i.e. besides the point under discussion. It had nothing to do with the appropriate size (and content) of a constitution.

fair...or unfair? #2

@ Vanhauwaert


A good example of the necessary 'checks and balances' can be found in tomorrow's "interim elections" in the USA, which at the FEDERAL level will only affect the full lower house of parliament, and one third of the upper house.  The Presidency (the Executive branch) and two thirds of the Senate will be up for grabs two years later and are on different election cycles. The idea is to give voters a chance to 'correct' themselves in time, to limit power by hindering 'landslides', and to force cooperation among ideological opposites. 

In short, a constitution should be very 'brief'. It is there to protect the citizens from concentration of power in government.  It is not there to 'cement' contemporary ruling or popular ideologies beyond their useful time.

To be fair...or unfair?

@ Vanhauwaert

"Interpretative work" does not belong in a constitution.  A constitution should aim for 'the ages'.  It should set up broad principles that should always be respected, irrespective of ideological fashions and temporary political passions.    

'Ras' has it about right. A constitution should define how the political system is supposed to operate, in other words how political "power" is defined, and - above all - limited.  Its possible 'genius' lies in the 'checks and balances' it prescribes for the interaction between the separate powers of the legislature, the executive, and the judicial branches.  And it should set a high (difficult to fulfill) standard to allow for possible future (and rare) amendment to the constitution by the citizens.   As far as individual "human rights" are concerned, I believe that a constitution should only specify (1) freedom of (political) speech and (2) habeas corpus. 

All the rest, particularly the ideological wishes or pet peeves of whatever political forces that are fashionable at any particular time, do NOT belong in a constitution.  They belong in 'normal' (and revocable) legislation - as opposed to the timeless constitution - and should be fought over in elections at regular intervals.


Not my point

Whatever you think a constitution should or should not contain is not my point. My point was describing the current state of affair :

The comparison is with the American constitution, which gets interpreted every day by thousands of judges (with final interpretative authority for the Supreme Court).

I feel certain that the EU

I feel certain that the EU constitution is not complete in the document shown. It will certainly incorporate, by reference, the entire UN Charter and the regulations of each of its divisions.

To be fair

You should add the significant body of interpretive judicial work by the supreme court to the American constitution.

What a proper constitution *should* do...

A proper constitution does  one thing and one thing only: it defines power ... who has it, how they get it and for how long, and what its limits are. Anything else is just posing.


"I believe that the European

"I believe that the European Constitution should be as accessible as the American one in that any citizen can purchase and peruse it, even if their criticisms are only reflected by their vote."

Sure, just go ahead and add that to the book.

No Roman Right, No Free Immigration

No, it builds on Roman Law, and it also gives rights to free immigration, and lot more. The Nordic countries and Britain shall never accept this. EU is not to become a state, because languages and also the fine cultures of Europes are most different. A constitution means a state.

J. E. Vig

This is a framework?

This is really stupefying; do these people know what a constitution is? What it’s for?

Lotta Rights

Wow, a constitution THAT thick must guarantee a hell of a lot of rights and really, REALLY limit the government's powers. Just think how many guns you could own under a constitution with that many words in it!


Funny But...The Costs...The Costs!!!!!

Dear loikll,

That was funny. But I will have to give up my assault rifle, with night scope and grenade launcher that I was going to get for Christmas just to buy the EU Constitution!!!! :)


I believe that the European Constitution should be as accessible as the American one in that any citizen can purchase and peruse it, even if their criticisms are only reflected by their vote.

So accessible in fact

that it is blindingly obvious whether abortion is a constitutionally protected right to any citizen who has read the document.

Dream on.

Hungary: The Past is Back to Rule the Present

Title: Thank you, George Handlery!

Dear Mr. Handlery,
Thank you very much for your frank report on October 23 events in Budapest!
I was there, too. Leaving the peaceful Fidesz rally of 100,000 people I got the police attack of tear-gas grenades and mounted police using swords on Károly körút. As it happened, I fled to the same place you did, next to the synagogue. I left the place through the Wesselényi utca. Your report is real! It was unbelievable it could happen!
If your opinion were the official opinion of Brussels and the EU-parliament, most of the Hungarian people - including me - would not be EU-skeptic…
Thaks again for telling the truth!

Zoltan Süttő, MD

E.U. Constitution size & cost must be in relation to the B.S.

Clicking the links in the articles that lead to Amazon, I find that:

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States is $4.99 which is the price of a burger, fries, and a coke.

Constitutions of Europe: Texts Collected by the Council of Europe Venice Commission is a mind boggling (like its contents I suspect) $449.00. Yes $449.00. That is the cost of a major appliance.

Thank God I, as an American am not under such a threat of having the tyranny of the E.U. proposed Constitution imposed upon me.

Why any nation would surrender its sovereignty, particularly to Brussels, is beyond me.


Tomorrow German ARD TV has Part 2 of its programme about 1529 and the Muslim defeat outside Vienna


the heft of three constitutions

 I find Brussels Journal full of interesting information! Thanks to this image, I can educate my relatives about the towering wisdom of Euro politicos--

question: after viewing the size of the documents, guess which 2 have
been in successful operation for decades/centuries and which 1 has been
rejected by voters.

bonus question: which 1 contains specifications for reindeer husbandry
and in general goes to a level of detail that would make you shake your
head in disbelief

[technically, I suppose the first question is not quite right. I think it is true that EU nations which approved the EU Constitution generally did so via their legislatures, but also there are examples where approval was obtained by a vote of the people. perhaps other readers of the Journal would know which countries approved and which did not. also, the method by which approval/rejection occurred whether legislature or direct vote of the people themselves.]