February 24, 2011
The article “Revising Egypt’s Constitution: A Contribution to the Constitutional Amendment Debate” was published by the Harvard International Law Journal on Feb. 22, written by Harvard Law School Visiting Professor Chibli Mallat with co-authors Maria van Wagenberg ’11, Mostafa Abdelkarim ’11 and Harvard Kennedy School student Julian Simcock.
Mallat is HLS’s Custodian of the Two Holy Places Visiting Professor of Islamic Legal Studies, as well as the Presidential Professor of Law and Professor of Middle Eastern Law and Politics at University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Adel Omar Sherif, deputy chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt and a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, also worked on the study.
The article synopsis from the Harvard International Law Journal follows. The full article is available here.
The transition under way in Egypt is constitutional. Work on the higher law bespeaks the Nile Revolution at its noblest: its nonviolent character. A constitutional transition after the ousting of the dictator is the most important task for sealing in law the future of Egypt and the region and for ensuring peaceful political change.
In the spirit of generating broad discourse in support of the Nile Revolution, this modest study seeks to identify key revisions to Egypt’s Constitution, and in doing so, to contribute an additional legal voice to the public deliberation on the future of the country, that is led by the Constitutional Amendments Committee.
The first Part of this Article discusses why the judiciary is uniquely positioned to lead the project of constitutional reform and how this could be accomplished under the current Constitution.
The second Part of the Article lays out specific recommendations for reform in two tiers. The first tier addresses the procedures governing elections in Egypt with specific attention to the enumerated articles before the Committee. The second tier addresses structural weaknesses in the Constitution regarding the allocation of powers, and suggests mechanisms to properly balance executive, legislative, and judicial authority.