Introduction: Pluralism, Contestation, and the Rule of Law


  • Keith Cherry University of Alberta



Around the world, the current political conjuncture is one of profound challenges for constitutionalism and the rule of law. In the United States, the executive has willfully engaged in a prolonged attempt to weaponize the machinery of the state and radicalize public opinion in order to undermine a democratic election. In the European Union, the increasingly authoritarian relationship between the executive and the judiciary in Poland and Hungary is posing the most profound threat to European constitutionalism in decades. In Hong Kong, the Chinese state is actively seeking to undermine legislative and judicial independence in the face of unprecedented pro-democracy mobilizations. In India, Lebanon, Bolivia, and elsewhere mass mobilizations are challenging, and being suppressed in the name of, the rule of law. Here in Canada, the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters, as well as the Tsleil Waututh, Haudenosaunee, L’nu (Mi’kmaq), Inuit, and members of countless other Indigenous nations are contesting the very nature of the rule of law, as they assert Indigenous laws against the law enforcement of the colonial state. Around the world, the use of emergency powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is also raising profound constitutional concerns.