THE EVIL PAST: Memory and Erasure in Constitutional Amendment By Prof. Richard Albert
On 29 October 2020, the Institute for the Administration of Justice hosted the webinar “The Evil Past: Memory and Erasure in Constitutional Amendment.” Central to the discussion was how countries emerge from repressive histories with State-sanctioned human rights violations. Lecturing on the matter was Dr. Richard Albert, Director of the Program on Constitutional Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
In his lecture, Dr. Albert discussed the mechanisms used for constitutional change and how the ways these crucial legal texts are written and rewritten either memorialize or forget past episodes of hate and exclusion. He examined the three predominant models – the invisible model, the integrative model, and the appendative model.
In weighing these models against each other, Dr. Albert urged for objectivity and conscious thought in writing constitutional amendment rules. Because of the evolution of nations and societies, he argued that legislatures do not have to be locked into any one model for constitutional amendment.
In his presentation and during the open forum, he emphasized the importance of the involvement of the governed in determining how the nation’s memory is written – what a nation wants to remember, and what it wants to forget.