Emory International Law Review


Nimer Sultany


This Article examines the role of religious law in constitutionalism by focusing on Egypt and Tunisia as two main case studies: Egypt is an example of the so-called 'Islamic constitutionalism' and Tunisia is an example of a more secular variety. Both cases are analyzed against the backdrop of U.S. constitutional theory and law. I begin by rejecting conceptualist approaches which focus on abstract concepts in order to assess the compatibility of religion, like Islam, with democracy. I show the futility of this kind of debate through a comparison to American debates between 'living constitutionalists' and 'originalists.' I then elaborate a pragmatic account that assesses the consequences of different institutional arrangements.