Christopher Dawes

  Wednesday, 5th July 2017

  17:00 - 18:00

   Large Lecture Rooms - Nuffield College

   Is “Constitutional Veneration” an Obstacle to Constitutional Amendment?


Some recent studies suggest that an aspect of institutional inertia in the US and elsewhere is attributable in part to the public’s attitudes about the sanctity of founding documents. We present an experiment that replicates and expands on one of these studies. Our findings support the notion that individuals’ “veneration” of the US Constitution biases them against amendment proposals and, furthermore, that individuals’ favorable attitudes toward the Constitution specifically render them reluctant to amend it even if they disapprove of the US constitutional system more generally.