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"The US Constitution is entrenched and rigid; the UK has no Constitution worthy of that name." To what extent do you agree with this view? (40 marks)

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"The US Constitution is entrenched and rigid; the UK has no Constitution worthy of that name." To what extent do you agree with this view? (40 marks) This quote is certainly questionable, and there are many factors that need to be considered before a definite answer can be given. The term Constitution refers to a set of written rules and procedures by which a country is governed. It determines the structures and powers of the organs of the state. In this quote, the Constitution may be entrenched and rigid implying the processes to change or amend it are complex and difficult to achieve. The UK's Constitution is made more complicated due to the various sources it has, both written and unwritten. This makes it more flexible and more open to changes and amendments. In 1787, as a result of revolution in the US-the American war of independence- the Founding Fathers created a written, codified Constitution. On the other hand, the Constitution in the UK is a result of organic development and evolution. It has many sources, some unwritten, rather than one document. This makes it uncodified. The sources come under headings of Statute law, Common law, Conventions and Works of authority. In the US only 27 amendments have been made to the Constitution, the first 10 of these known as the Bill of Rights. ...read more.


The judges are appointed, not elected by the people, and because of this he and many others feel it is wrong for them to hold powers as great as these. In the UK however, courts do not hold this power. They can only 'mould' Acts of Parliament through interpretation. Therefore it could be disputed that they have less power than those in the US. It is argued that the codified Constitution in the US is failing to change along with society due to its inflexibility. The most notorious failure to change surrounds the 2nd Amendment- the right to keep and bear arms. This was created in the eighteenth century to ensure the continuation and flourishing of the state militias as a means of defense. In present times, this is arguably not necessary and much pain and devastation have resulted. Examples include not only rises in more common crimes but also in mass killings, and more recently killings at an Amish school and Virginia tech college. The 'outdated' amendment highlights how inflexible the US Constitution really is. The UK, as explained earlier, could change the laws and Constitution much more easily so that it was more modern and relevant to present day needs. However, the US Constitution's granting of power to Congress to 'provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States' is an example where it is surprisingly flexible. ...read more.


If this amendment was to be discarded, many would accept it to be inevitable that crime rates would fall in time and less peoples' lives would be upset or destroyed. I do however understand the need to uphold the US Constitution as it needs to apply to everyone in every state. The Separation of Powers are, in my opinion, a brilliant tool. They allow checks and balances that among other things reduce the chances of one part of government becoming over powerful. The UK's Constitution though, in my opinion, is far more in touch with the present times we live in. However, I can sympathise with people who become frustrated when more and more power is passed to the EU, causing pooling of sovereignty. It would be extremely difficult to return the powers from the EU, even though in theory it is possible. Since the UK joined the EC in 1973, the acquis communitaire has led the UK towards a more codified constitution, while stopping short of adopting a fully codified constitution. EU laws and treaties now form an important written element of our constitution. They include the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law in 1998 and The Freedom of Information Act 2000. I think caution and careful decisions must be taken before rushing into short term decisions on the Constitution, and the referendum promised on the EU treaty should used. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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