The Uses of Federalism: The American Experience
In recent years, the drafting of new constitutions has become something of a cottage industry. From the Baltic Sea to the Cape of Good Hope there are stirrings of constitutional change in the air. During this period I have had the privilege of sitting at the elbows of drafters at work on bills of rights and other fundamental laws in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. For an American not able to have been at Philadelphia in 1787, seeing constitutions drafted in Prague and Sofia conveys an unmistakable air of being "present at the creation."'
As I engage constitution-makers in dialogue about their work, I am always struck by the way in which the enterprise is ultimately one that entails comparisons. A constitution must, of course, be planted in the soil of the country where it is to operate. Every drafter with whom I have talked, however, has taken care to inquire into the constitutional texts and experiences of other countries, especially those which seem to offer useful lessons in working democracy.