Since ancient Athens, democrats have taken pride in their power and inclination to change their laws, yet they have also sought to counter this capacity by creating immutable laws. In Democracy and Legal Change, Melissa Schwartzberg argues that modifying law is a fundamental and attractive democratic activity. Against those who would defend the use of 'entrenchment clauses' to protect key constitutional provisions from revision, Schwartzberg seeks to demonstrate historically the strategic and even unjust purposes unamendable laws have typically served, and to highlight the regrettable consequences that entrenchment may have for democracies today. Drawing on historical evidence, classical political theory, and contemporary constitutional and democratic theory, Democracy and Legal Change reexamines the relationship between democracy and the rule of law from a new, and often surprising, set of vantage points.
Melissa Schwartzberg is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. She received a Ph.D. in politics from New York University in 2002 and an A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis in classics and political science in 1996. From 2002 through 2006, she was Assistant Professor of Political Science at The George Washington University. She has published articles on law and political theory in journals including the American Political Science Review and Political Studies.