Catholic University Law Review


This article expands upon the theory put forth in Professor Bruce Ackerman’s book, Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law, in which he posits that twentieth century revolutions in a variety of countries led to the constitutionalization of charisma, thus binding countries to the written constitutions established by their revolutionary leaders.

Constitutional law scholar, Steven G. Calabresi, argues here that world constitutionalism, in fact, existed prior to 1945, and what is especially striking about the post-1945 experience is that the constitutionalism of charisma included not only the adoption of written constitutions, but also the adoption of meaningful systems of judicial review and of checks and balances – often established by the revolutionary leaders, themselves. This article concludes with a discussion of the origins and growth of judicial review in fifteen of the G-20 nations, all constitutional democracies not described in Professor Ackerman’s book.