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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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7Emergency powers

Victor V Ramraj and Menaka Guruswamy

7.1 Emergency powers and constitutionalism

Emergency powers pose a serious challenge to one key objective of modern constitutionalism— limiting state power. How, if at all, can a legal order respond to an emergency within a constitutional framework? Is it consistent with the general aims of constitutionalism for a constitution to authorize the suspension of constitutional guarantees, in whole or in part, in times of emergency? There are also important questions about the definition of ‘emergency’, for the meaning ascribed to this idea and the power to decide when an emergency exists are themselves contentious. The definition chosen affects the ability of a legal order to respond to the ...

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