Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

To be sure, it is not a “bottom-up” process, but rests almost entirely in the hands of national-level governors.

In this sense, it is a “top-down” process, which is what Americans expect and fully approve of. These are, after all, the “experienced people” taking part in revising the national code, as Tsai says.

Tsai concludes by saying that amending the Constitution is like “making a garment that must fit the person’s needs.”

This seems simplistic. I do not like thinking of such important changes being similar to making a shirt and a pair of slacks.

I would instead submit that such changes are like an operation on a living body (the “living Constitution”), thereby acknowledging a given dynamism and also referring to the sense in which the Constitution can and must change and be “cured” over time.

One source I referred to discussed the idea that a “living Constitution” may best embrace the multiple functions of constitutional interpretation — text, original intent, structure and resolution, standard and doctrine, morals and ethos.

In turn, some say this view must be associated with the idea that contemporary society should be taken into account when making constitutional changes.

Here, then, is seen Tsai’s “public opinion” — and I would certainly agree that this should be considered. (Tsai also suggested that cross-party negotiation would be required, and this of course would be necessary — but again it is in the hands of the “governors.”)

In the end, although the people will have their say in conjunction with these methods, governments and “experienced people” are the essential actors in the process being discussed — as expected and endorsed by the people.

David Pendery

Taipei

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