Tom Ginsburg

Tom Ginsburg
University of Chicago | UC · Law School

JD, PhD

About

259
Publications
83,116
Reads
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5,349
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - present
University of Chicago
Position
  • Leo Spitz Professor
September 2008 - June 2011
University of Chicago
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 2008 - present
University of Chicago
Position
  • Professor
Education
August 1994 - May 1999
University of California, Berkeley
Field of study
  • Jurisprudence and Social Policy
August 1994 - May 1997
August 1985 - May 1989
University of California, Berkeley
Field of study
  • Asian Studies

Publications

Publications (259)
Article
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is thought to have shaped constitutions profoundly since its adoption in 1948. The authors identify two empirical implications that should follow from such influence. First, UDHR content should be reflected in subsequent national constitutions. Second, such reflections should bear the particular mark...
Article
Emergency governance, we are often told, is executive governance. Only the executive has the information, decisiveness, and speed to respond to crises, and so the executive is not capable of being effectively constrained by other branches. Ordinary checks and balances, then, are believed to effectively disappear during a crisis. Referring to the cl...
Article
This article responds to a set of well-known challenges to empirical research on formal institutions in comparative politics. We focus on the case of written constitutions and discuss the scholarly utility of studying such documents in the face of four analytic and theoretical challenges. Each of these challenges, in turn, implies a set of empirica...
Chapter
This contribution takes as its starting point Professor Sadurski’s analysis of the Polish slide from democracy. Poland’s populists learned from Hungary, trying many of the same strategies as Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party. The lack of a constitutional majority meant that certain moves were open and others foreclosed, and Europe’s previous failures wit...
Chapter
Redrafting Constitutions in Democratic Regimes - edited by Gabriel L. Negretto September 2020
Article
Cambridge Core - Constitutional and Administrative Law - Redrafting Constitutions in Democratic Regimes - edited by Gabriel L. Negretto
Article
Our era is one of democratic backsliding. International courts and institutions have provided some bulwark against this trend, but we are now witnessing leaders seeking to use international law to extend their power. Courts in several countries have relied on international human rights norms to facilitate term limit extensions by leaders seeking to...
Article
International law, though formally neutral among regime types, has mainly been a product of liberal democracies since World War II. In light of recent challenges to the liberal international order, this Article asks, what would international law look like in an increasingly authoritarian world? As compared with democratic countries, authoritarians...
Article
Cambridge Core - Comparative Law - From Parchment to Practice - edited by Tom Ginsburg
Article
Militant organizations and rebel groups are an enduring feature of political life in much of the world. As scholars pay greater attention to rebel governance strategies, the role of law and courts is coming to the fore. We observe a good deal of variation across rebel groups in terms of their legal infrastructure and its organizational differentiat...
Article
For many, the growing judicialization of international relations is the next step in the process toward the complete legalization of international politics. We draw on the literature in comparative judicial politics to examine the limits of the phenomenon. The domestic literature on judicialization portrays the process as something of a one-way rat...
Article
How has academia understood the massive changes in the world since 1989? This article emphasizes the important role of institutional analysis and empirical scholarship of various kinds. There has also been new attention to issues of identity. Finally, there have been monumental changes in the way scholarship is produced and consumed, and these too...
Chapter
Our chapter elaborates the distribution of term limit provisions across time and space. We draw on the Comparative Constitutions Project, which records data from written constitutions for independent states since 1789. We show that term limits have become more common in presidential systems, and that there are regional variations to the patterns. W...
Chapter
Constitution-Making and Transnational Legal Order - edited by Gregory Shaffer April 2019
Chapter
This chapter considers a variety of constitutional options for resolving and managing enduring territorial cleavages. Three categories of constitutional tools are discussed: those that involve allocation of decision-making to different levels of government, including federalism, autonomy, and various forms of devolution; those that concern central...
Article
Democracies can collapse or erode beyond repair, but they can also suffer substantial yet “non-fatal” deterioration in the quality of democratic institutions, and then experience a rebound. Such “near misses” have received little or no attention in the new wave of scholarship on why democracies die (or survive). This article develops the concept of...
Article
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Constitutional and Administrative Law - Constitutional Courts in Asia - edited by Albert H. Y. Chen
Article
Full-text available
The field of comparative constitutional studies is an interdisciplinary inquiry that combines positive and normative analysis, and utilizes tools from several different academic disciplines including history, law, political economy, and sociology. The field reflects James Madison’s confidence that we can utilize the comparative method to produce ge...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction to the Symposium on Thomas Franck, “Emerging Right to Democratic Governance” at 25 - Volume 112 - Tom Ginsburg
Chapter
Because constitutions do not last forever, polities face the problem of transitions. In recent years, national constitution-making processes have tended to employ two mechanisms to effectuate the transition between the former regime and incoming one: (i) interim constitutions; and (ii) transitional provisions. In this chapter, we provide a descript...
Article
Screening potential entrants is a major challenge to any system of immigration. At bottom, the problem is one of information asymmetry, in which migrants hold private information as to their abilities and intentions. We propose a new approach that leverages information that potential entrants have about each other. Certain potential entrants to the...
Chapter
This chapter examines a particular aspect of treaty practice, namely the use of objections to reservations, as an example of the comparative international law project. The practice of objections, it argues, occurs when states have divergent interpretation of treaty requirements, but also illustrates the differential propensity of states to push the...
Article
We explore how ideas from infectious disease and genetics can be used to uncover patterns of cultural inheritance and innovation in a corpus of 591 national constitutions spanning 1789–2008. Legal “ideas” are encoded as “topics”—words statistically linked in documents—derived from topic modeling the corpus of constitutions. Using these topics we de...
Article
Constitutional review, and constitutions more broadly, have been analyzed as providing political insurance for parties who risk declining power. This article develops a typology of risks against which insurance may be useful, and explains how each has its own distinctive institutional implications. It suggests that political elites may seek insuran...
Article
Full-text available
National constitutions are central to the field of foreign relations law, which is defined by Curtis Bradley in his essay as “the domestic law of each nation that governs how that nation interacts with the rest of the world.” In this contribution to the symposium, I wish to explore the relation between foreign relations law and national constitutio...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction to Symposium on Sovereignty, Cyberspace, and Tallinn Manual 2.0 - Volume 111 - Tom Ginsburg
Article
Full-text available
This paper surveys the history and practice of providing constitutional advice. It first examines antecedents, then looks at the contemporary political economy of the process, drawing on the transnational legal order (TLO) framework to evaluate whether or not it can be characterized as a TLO. The answer is a partial yes. We focus on one feature of...
Article
A World of Struggle: How Power, Law and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy. By David Kennedy . Woodstock, Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press, 2016. Pp. ix, 298. Index. $29.95, £24.95. - Volume 111 Issue 1 - Tom Ginsburg
Preprint
As noted by President Obama’s recent Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, pervasive state surveillance has never been more feasible. There has been an inexorable rise in the size and reach of the national security bureaucracy since it was created after World War II, as we have gone through the Cold War and the War on Terror...
Chapter
Regime transition is a central challenge in constitutional design. This chapter discusses two increasingly popular mechanisms to effectuate the transition between regimes: (i) interim constitutions; and (ii) transitional provisions. Both mechanisms involve the manipulation of temporality, limiting duration of what is supposed to be an enduring form...
Article
Is the United States at risk of democratic backsliding? And would the Constitution prevent such decay? To many, the 2016 election campaign may be the immediate catalyst for these questions. But it is structural changes to the socio-economic environment and geopolitical shifts that make the question a truly pressing one. This Article develops a taxo...
Article
Concepts are the building blocks of legal doctrine. All legal rules and standards, in fact, are formed by combining concepts in different ways. But despite their centrality, legal concepts are not well understood. There is no agreement as to what makes a legal concept useful or ineffective - worth keeping or in need of revision. Social scientists,...
Book
This book provides unique insights into the practice of democratic constitutionalism in one of the world’s most legally and politically significant regions. It combines contributions from leading Latin American and global scholars to provide ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ insights about the lessons to be drawn from the distinctive constitutional experi...
Chapter
Full-text available
The rule of law (RoL) is the central political ideal of our time, a lynchpin of democracy, justice and development. So broad is the consensus that the RoL is important that even countries that do not fully implement it still pay lip service to its value. Yet, despite the normative consensus, we still do not have a clear understanding of where respe...
Article
In the last 25 years, constitutional courts have been major players in the governance of Central and Eastern Europe, and were arguably the most important defenders of the rule of law in the region. Yet the last few years have exposed the institutional fragility of constitutional courts in the face of illiberal democracy, as several countries have m...
Article
Full-text available
Magna Carta’s status as a touchstone of modern thinking about the rule of law rests on several well-known myths. This article evaluates the influence of Magna Carta on modern constitutions, both in terms of formation as well as content. The analysis confirms that Magna Carta’s symbolic popularity is continuing to increase, even if the causal chains...
Article
This introduction to the special issue on Buddhism and law lays out an agenda for the socio-legal study of contemporary Buddhism. We identify lacunae in the current literature and call for further work on four themes: the relations between monastic legal practice and state law; the formations of Buddhist constitutionalism; Buddhist legal activism a...
Article
Full-text available
The rule of law era has given rise to multiple indicators purporting to measure the concept. This article compares four major indicators of the rule of law and shows that their approaches to conceptualization and measurement differ. Given their disparate conceptualizations and measurement strategies, one might expect a weak correlation between them...
Article
This introduction to the special issue on Buddhism and law lays out an agenda for the socio-legal study of Buddhism. We identify lacunae in the current literature and call for work in four clusters: the relation of monastic legal practice and state law; the formations of Buddhist constitutionalism; Buddhist legal activism and Buddhist-interest liti...
Article
We explore how ideas from infectious disease and genetics can be used to uncover patterns of cultural inheritance and innovation in a corpus of 591 national constitutions spanning 1789 - 2008. Legal "Ideas" are encoded as "topics" - words statistically linked in documents - derived from topic modeling the corpus of constitutions. Using these topics...
Article
Constitution Making as a Transnational Legal Order - Volume 110 - Tom Ginsburg
Book
From London to Libya, from Istanbul to Iceland, there is great interest among comparative constitutional scholars and practitioners about when a proposed constitution is likely to succeed. But what does it mean for a constitution to succeed? Are there universal criteria of success, and which apply across the board? Or, is the choice of criteria ent...
Chapter
A standard way to think about constitutional efficacy is to compare the text of a document with reality, as captured in some empirical measure. In our experience, it is an extremely rare conversation about comparative constitutions that is not interrupted by a plaintive interjection – by well-meaning observers – that constitutional rules are not al...
Article
Full-text available
It is conventional wisdom that China’s Constitution is unenforceable, and plays little role in China’s legal system, other than as a symbolic document. This view rests on the fact that the Supreme Court has no power to interpret the Constitution. The formal body with interpretive power, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, has...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents and assesses a new wave of em- pirical research on international law. Recent scholar- ship has moved away from theoretical debates over whether international law “matters,” and focuses in- stead on exploring the conditions under which inter- national law is created and produces effects. As this empirical research program has m...
Article
Full-text available
As noted by President Obama’s recent Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, pervasive state surveillance has never been more feasible. There has been an inexorable rise in the size and reach of the national security bureaucracy since it was created after World War II, as we have gone through the Cold War and the War on Terror...
Article
Dan Svantesson has introduced an important proposal to reformulate the way we allocate jurisdiction in the international community. Rather than asking whether a proposed assertion of jurisdiction falls into one of the canonical principles identified in the Harvard Research Draft Convention on Jurisdiction with Respect to Crime of 1935, Svantesson p...
Article
Introduction to Symposium: The Pope’s Encyclical and Climate Change Policy - Volume 109 - Tom Ginsburg
Article
Introduction to Symposium on Stavros Gadinis, “Three Pathways to Global Standards: Private, Regulator, and Ministry Networks” - Volume 109 - Tom Ginsburg
Article
Introduction to Symposium: Rethinking State Jurisdiciton in the Internet Era - Volume 109 - Tom Ginsburg
Article
Constitutional design and redesign is constant. Over the last 200 years, countries have replaced their constitutions an average of every 19 years and some have amended them almost yearly. A basic problem in the drafting of these documents is the search and analysis of model text deployed in other jurisdictions. Traditionally, this process has been...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between de jure and de facto judicial independence is much debated in the literature on judicial politics. Some studies find no relationship between the formal rules governing the structure of the judiciary and de facto judicial independence, while others find a tight correlation. This article sets out to reassess the relationship...
Book
مقدمة المترجمين ما أن شرعنا في ترجمة هذا العمل مطلع فبراير عام 2014، حتى اتصلنا بزكاري إلكنز، من قسم العلوم السياسية بجامعة تكساس، أحد ثلاثة اشتركوا في إعداده، كي نطلب منه إذنا بترجمته، فاستجاب خلال بضع ساعات مرحبا بالفكرة، ومبديا حماسه لها وسعادته بها. ولأن منح حقوق الترجمة يستدعي موافقة زميليه، توم كنزبرج من كلية القانون بجامعة شيكاغو، وجيمس ملتو...
Article
Full-text available
There is a long scholarly debate on the trade-off between research and teaching in various fields, but relatively little study of the phenomenon in law. This analysis examines the relationship between the two core academic activities at one particular school, the University of Chicago Law School, which is considered one of the most productive in le...
Article
We like to think that constitutions are expressions of distinctly national values, speaking for “We the People.” This is especially true of constitutional preambles, which often recount distinct events from national history and speak to national values. This article challenges this popular view by demonstrating the global influences on constitution...
Article
Full-text available
What aims should guide a new constitution's drafters? Aspirational homilies about the rule of law, human rights, or democracy aside, there remains a surprising dearth of tools with which to gauge the success or failure of a constitution. We suggest four mid-range metrics for constitution-making: the legitimation of a new state; the channeling of po...

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