How (Not) to Break Up: Constituent Power and Alternative Pathways to Scottish Independence
In October 2022, the UK Supreme Court unanimously held that the Scottish Parliament lacks the power to legislate for a second referendum on Scottish independence (Indyref 2) absent an enabling Order by the UK government under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998. With no such Order forthcoming, alternative pathways to Indyref 2 are being investigated. In this article, we ex-amine two such potential pathways—a plebiscitary election and an unauthorised referendum—through the lens of constituent power. We argue that both pathways are theoretically available if one accepts (as we argue) that the Scottish people is the bearer of constituent power. However, we conclude that there are significant obstacles dotting both potential pathways, and as such the only feasible route to internationally recognised statehood for Scotland is via political negotiation.