Sujit Choudhry Writes About Democratic Backsliding

Comparative Constitutional Law Professor Sujit Choudhry is an internationally recognized source of information when it comes to constitutional and political issues. Over the past two decades he has not only taught at universities about these subjects but he has also helped out in a practical manner with nations who are trying to go from violence in the streets to a nation that is orderly run as a peaceful democracy ( He has helped many nations make this transition which includes complex areas such as minority and group rights, constitutional design, semi-presidentialism, federalism, official language policy, and similar items.

Professor Choudhry is also a researcher and author. His latest book is entitled, “Constitutional Democracies in Crisis?” He has written that the threat to constitutional democracy has been evolving ever since the Cold War was finished (  One example he uses is the Law and Justice Party of Poland, known as PiS. He says this is a very right-wing party which is populist and nationalist in nature. It was in the 2015 elections that they won a majority of the seats in Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, and every since they have been undermining Poland’s democracy.

Sujit Choudhry wrote in his latest book that PiS first focused on undermining that nation’s Constitutional Court and their regular courts as well. PiS has launched multiple lawsuits that seem distinct on the surface and yet they create a cohesive theme of undermining constitutional democracy. They have also instituted new rules and procedures meant to keep PiS in power permanently. He says they have purposely gone at an uneven pace to remake Poland as an authoritarian and nationalist government. They overwhelm with periods of intense activity followed up by not doing much of anything.

As an authority on politics, Sujit Choudhry talks about “democratic backsliding”. This is when a nation was under authoritarian rule, becomes a constitutional democracy, and the old forces try to chip away at this democracy in order to return the country to being ruled with an iron fist. He has written that there is no bright line between what a democracy is and what an autocracy looks like but you will know it when you see it.

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