Sujit Choudhry and Holder’s “Red Line”

It is no secret and should come as no surprise to anyone who avidly follows current geopolitical developments that there has been a growing sense of skepticism surrounding democracy. Democracy, in its modern iterations, being a relatively new form of governance, caused massive social upheavals but brought with it a transformative power which gave the citizenry of the countries where it took root a newfound sense of political agency; no longer where they merely powerless onlookers but instead were active participants in the grand machinery of their state or countries order. However, countries such as Poland and Hungary have grown doubtful about the efficacy surrounding democratic politics, specifically, liberal, constitutional democracies.

Sujit Choudhry, a professor of comparative constitutional law and prolific writer (, has been more vocal than almost anyone in defending constitutional democracy from its critics and he recently turned his considerable and scholarly prowess towards a unlikely source, a tweet that is a message on the social media platform, (Twitter) written by Obama era, former attorney general, Eric Holder.

The tweet Mr. Choudhry focuses in on was written amidst the Mueller investigation which concerned whether or not President Trump had colluded with Russian governmental agents during the 2016 elections, check Holder had written, in 2017, that any potential move to fire Special Counsel Mueller was a “absolute red line” which should not be crossed and that if it were, the American people would decide what measures should be taken to remedy it.

More of Sujit’s works at

In Choudhry’s interpretation, he notes that Holder’s message was based off of symbolic concepts, the first and most obvious being the allusion to a “red line” the breaking out of the bounds of the constitution which would prove deleterious to American democratic order. The second being that in leaving the decision up to the “American people” Holder demonstrates an adherence to the very American tradition of self-reliant constitutional governance, a fierce streak of independence which Choudhry realizes as the focal point of America’s self-conception of government.

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