Former Attorney General Eric Holder recently tweeted that if Robert Mueller is fired from the current investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, mass peaceful protests must immediately take place. According to Holder, if a firing were to take place, it would be crossing a “red line.” Sujit Choudhry immediately took notice in a chapter he’s written for his upcoming book, Constitutional Democracies in Crisis?
Choudhry notes that Holder’s call to action encompasses two distinct things. First, that the “red line” is a symbolic one that represents a boundary in American democracy. Secondly, that the American people’s response is what will guide the response of the government, which will ultimately resolve the issue.
That red line is important. It represents a failure of democratic principles, and the citizenry will be compelled to take action. Otherwise, tyranny will result. He goes into greater detail, specifically in regards to term limits, and how tyrants can suspend democratic principles to further their aims. This can take several different forms, including suspending elections or abolishing term limits. A coup d’etat by the military or a political party is also discussed. For many, these are outrageous ideas. According to Sujit Choudhry, we’ve seen them take place in several different countries, and is a threat that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Sujit Choudhry is an authority on comparative constitutional law and politics. He is currently the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law (blogs.law.nyu.edu). He’s had hands-on experience building constitutions for governments around the world, including South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
Sujit Choudhry is also the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions. This is a think tank for mobilizing knowledge in regards to constitution building. They coordinate an international network of experts to offer solid policy options for practitioners.
Keep up with Choudhry, follow him on Twitter.