In most democracies, elected members of parliament are representatives of people who elect them. They are also supposed to pass laws, make amendments and perform other functions. Being representatives, they are supposed to do something for people, so that they be elected again or are in good books. But there is nothing to check how good they are with the constitution which they are supposed to protect and build on.
So I have the following questions:
- Why isn't it mandatory for elected members of parliament to pass a (written) test on the constitution before they give nomination?
- Are there any countries which have such a system?
- If none, is there some inherent issue with such a view?
- If some, do they have any advantage or disadvantage over the rest?
EDIT to add clarifications on question and to give a general gist of answers so far.
- As doubted by @Jonita this question doesn't assume constitutional law as the most important part of the constitution. The only intention was to find out whether such a system existed and if it did, check whether it had any advantage over the existing ones. If not, why. If such a system existed, I was hoping that system would have representatives who are more active in the building process of constitution by actively engaging in debates when new bills and amendments are presented in the house and thus making public aware of the same.
- @jamesqf has a nice point that it's assumed that people learn basics about constitution in school. Unfortunately, that too is not true. I am not sure how aware most elected members are about all these, let alone public. Then again, there aren't a lot of countries where they have 100% people completing (even) high school.
- @David Thornley mentioned, and quite rightly, that it's up to voters to decide about such a change. But as such a system doesn't exist (no one was able to provide evidence for one till now), how would voters even think about it? Till then it's a hypothetical system that exists in a few online threads.
- The biggest contribution so far was from @kevin and @James K, both convincing why such a test could be really a bad idea. But both had a predisposition that these tests have to be evaluated and according to the result, candidates should be disqualified. Instead of a test to disqualify, I gave a suggestion that candidates, before nomination, should do write up on topics which are given prior to nomination. There can also be a test, as @James K mentioned, which is taken by civil servants in some countries. None of the above has to be elimination criteria. Instead, it can be made available publicly so that public can go through it and have an idea about the candidates. This would mean the candidates cant just go with regular rhetorics and polarizing politics. Of course, they would still do it in other platforms. Another advantage is, as the material is publicly available, the public can go through these documents in the coming elections too. The above way to test candidates is just an opinion and I am sure there are other ideas, existing or new, that can be much more effective.
- In some countries judiciary has the power to review laws, as mentioned by @elliot svensson. But, that too is not mandatory for all laws.