Liberal State Systems

Constitutional systems provide limitations on state power and authority, with protection of civil rights against government interference except under specified circumstances. Rights to assemble, petition, speak, and publish are available to all individuals, groups, and interests which seek to change or defend policy. They are "liberal" because they emphasize that individual consent is the foundation of state power and individual rights must be secured by governments. Such rights are essential to the development of environmental interest groups, movements, and political parties. Without them, the environmental group or party is subject to change at the whim of government officials and administrators. Liberal constitutional systems also provide multiple ways for citizens to hold officials accountable for their conduct in office: regular elections; constitutional methods for removal from office (impeachment and votes of confidence and censure); and laws that apply to state agencies and officeholders as well as business entities and individuals.

Constitutions also may embed environmental protections in the constitution itself. In liberal state systems, constitutional protection of the environment gives individuals, groups, and movements an easily enforceable right. In the absence of constitutional rights to environmental protection in liberal state systems, other constitutional protections, such as those to equal protection of the laws or due process, must be employed.

0 0

Post a comment