There are two basic views concerning the relationship between constitutionalrights and proportionality analysis. The first maintains that there exists a necessary connection between constitutionalrights and proportionality, the second argues that the question of whether constitutionalrights and proportionality are connected depends on what the framers of the constitution have actually decided, that is, on positive law. The first thesis may be termed ‘necessity thesis’, the second ‘contingency thesis’. According to the necessity thesis, (...) the legitimacy of proportionality analysis is a question of the nature of constitutionalrights, according to the contingency thesis, it is a question of interpretation. The article defends the necessity thesis. | A previous version of this article was published in Chinese Yearbook of Constitutional Law, Vol. 2010, 221–235. (shrink)
This book analyses the general structure of constitutionalrights reasoning under the German Basic Law. It deals with a wide range of problems common to all systems of constitutionalrights review. In an extended introduction the translator argues for its applicability to the British Constitution, with particular reference to the Human Rights Act 1998.
This work explains the nature of constitutionalrights. It does so by means of an analysis of the nature of law in general, the nature of constitutions, and the nature of rights. It looks in detail at several aspects of constitutional law, rights and institutions, as well as aspects related to public officials, private persons and associations. In addition, the book critically examines a considerable number of debates about whether some actual or proposed constitutional (...)rights ought to be established and maintained in the United States constitution. It then identifies the kinds of reasons that justify or fail to justify constitutionalrights. The book advances the debate and makes a contribution to the theory and the practice of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
The question of the character of constitutionalrights norms is complex and admits of no easy answer. Without reducing the complexity of the issue, I attempt in this paper to formulate some clear views on the matter. I shall argue that constitutionalrights reasoning is a species of rational practical reasoning that combines both balancing and the grounds as to why balancing is appropriate . Absent the latter type of reason, the application of constitutional principles (...) remains a pure instance of balancing. Each time those reasons are touched upon, however, balancing becomes subject to deontological constraints. Yet deontological reasons are neither self-proclaiming nor complete. Rather they require for their articulation the background of an already operational practice of practical reasoning. This practice exemplifies what I shall dub the structure of autonomy, that is, a set of regulative ideals, not yet definitive norms, that derive from the reflective character of human agency. This structure comes to light when one turns to the agent’s point of view – to the point of view of someone who is engaged reflectively with practical questions . The structure of autonomy is more fundamental than any deontological or teleological reasons: it is in its light that deontology and teleology need to be understood as representing merely complementary forms of argument, which can be employed in reasoning that aims to maximise constitutionalrights provisions. At the same time, the structure of autonomy as a regulative ideal generates prima facie reasons for allocating greater weight to deontological arguments in the relevant contexts of balancing. Such prima-facie reasons do not prescribe fully-fledged deontological constraints, but merely set the burden of proof in favour of specific reasons and ensure that the structure of autonomy be respected overall. (shrink)
Prevailing accounts of the relationship between rights and identity impose a false choice between conceptions of rights as the instrument of self-invention or the foil to collective virtue. This article proposes an alternative conception of rights as constitutive of social relations and aspects of individual identity. To do so, it draws on H. L. A. Hart's famous distinction between special and general rights, and it describes the exclusionary and inclusionary conditions under which these forms of right (...) constitute social groups and self-meaning. Further, it specifies a pure form of «constitutive right», overlooked in Hart's typology, but extant in modern liberal, pluralistic societies, that inherently differentiates among persons and so directly constitutes aspects of human identity. (shrink)
Professor Matthew Adler has argued that many constitutionalrights are not personal moral rights, but that are pragmatic and instrumental in nature. 1 The reason rights are not personal, in Adlerthe constitutionality of a statute depends not just on how it affects someone, but on what it sayspersonal” legal disability that would set him apart from any other citizen, and is, therefore, not enforcing a personal right. Instead, Adler believes that constitutionalrights are better (...) understood as positive-law creations that allow citizens to sue as private attorneys-general. (shrink)
In this important book, Michael J. Perry examines three of the most disputed constitutional issues of our time: capital punishment, state laws banning abortion, and state policies denying the benefit of law to same-sex unions. The author, a leading constitutional scholar, explains that if a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court believes that a law violates the Constitution, it does not necessarily follow that the Court should rule that the law is unconstitutional. In cases in which (...) it is argued that a law violates the Constitution, the Supreme Court must decide which of two importantly different questions it should address: is the challenged law unconstitutional? Is the lawmakers' judgment that the challenged law is constitutional a reasonable judgment? Perry not only illuminates moral controversies that implicate one or more constitutionally entrenched human rights, but also the fundamental question of the Supreme Court's proper role in adjudicating such controversies. (shrink)
In this paper I defend constitutional review against the charge that it neces- sarily runs afoul of democratic principle. In so doing, I draw both on Dworkin’s theory of constructive interpretation as well as Raz’s theory of detached normative statements and reasoning from a point of view. After arguing that constructive interpretation can be undertaken from a point of view other than that of the interpreter, I go on to argue for the following claims: (1) Constitutional interpretation and (...) review can be undertaken from the point of view of the democratic community and its constitutional morality; (2) This process can be undertaken by a judge without the deliberate intrusion of her own personal moral convictions; (3) When undertaken from this point of view, constitutional interpretation and review can be rendered consistent with democracy; and (4) This is so even when these activities require a good deal of substantive moral reasoning and argument on the part of judges. (shrink)
-/- In his rich and thoughtful paper, Richard Bellamy sketches a theory of individual rights that ascribes to them an inherently democratic character that “is best captured by a republican view of liberty as non-domination, rather than the standard liberal account of liberty as non-interference.” According to this view, “rights involve an implicit appeal to democratic forms of reasoning.” That is, the only justifiable “foundation of rights must be some form of ongoing democratic decision making that allows (...)rights to be claimed under conditions of political equality.” Bellamy uses this particular model of rights to defend a somewhat unique thesis concerning the legitimacy of judicial review under a constitutional charter or bill of rights (henceforth constitutional review). Many legal theorists question whether constitutional review can ever be rendered consistent with the theoretical and practical demands of democracy. According to these theorists, democracy embodies a form of self-rule whereby the members of a society establish and exercise legitimate authority over themselves. But self-rule seems seriously compromised once constitutional review enters the picture. Instead of having the people and their elected representatives setting the basic terms of social cooperation, we have instead a small group of elite, unelected, and unaccountable judges performing this vital task. Constitutional review empowers these individuals, in constitutional review cases, to substitute their own contestable views and preferences with respect to the basic terms of social cooperation for the duly considered views and preferences of the people and those whom they have duly elected to represent them. This is something one simply cannot tolerate in a democracy. (shrink)
The rapid spread of judicially-enforced constitutionalrights has been one of the most dramatic developments in modern law. This book argues that there is now a global model for how such rights should function, and develops an original, philosophically grounded, account of their nature and scope.
This article calls for the construction of constitutionalrights as principles, rather than as rules. The rule construction conceives subsumption or classification as the appropriate form for the application of constitutionalrights. It attempts, in this way, to avoid the problems associated with balancing. By contrast, the principles construction argues that balancing is inevitable and unavoidable. Balancing is at the very core of the proportionality test. The debate over the construction of constitutionalrights is, (...) therefore, first and foremost a debate over proportionality analysis. The central objection to the principles construction is that balancing and, with it, the proportionality test, is irrational. This irrationality objection is countered by analysis of the formal structure of balancing; the analysis shows that balancing is a case of rational legal argument that is explicated by means of an arithmetic formula: the Weight Formula. The Weight Formula provides a demonstration of how and why balancing is possible as a form of rational legal argument. It also makes it possible to show that proportionality analysis endangers neither the power nor the force of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
The present debate on constitutionalrights aims to protect the individual against the intrusive power of the state. Analysing the precarious relationship between art and money, the authors argue that constitutionalrights need to be extended into the regimes of private governance. This requires four fundamental changes. (1) Constitutionalrights can no longer be limited to the protection of individual actors. Instead, they need to be extended to guarantees of freedom of discourses. (2) The (...) new experience of the twentieth century is that totalizing tendencies have their origin not only in politics, but also in other fields of action, especially in technology, science, and the economy. Thus, a discursive concept of constitutionalrights should be directed against any social system with totalizing tendencies. (3) Instead of concentrating on centres of economic and social power, constitutionalrights in the private sphere should focus on the specific communicative medium of the expansionist social system involved. (4) This excludes the direct analogy of a ‘right’ as a quasispatial exclusion zone. More significant guarantees of discursive autonomy could be found in a ‘proceduralization’ of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
ABSTRACT For several generations before the First World War, the idea that the British constitution contained a ‘right of asylum' for foreign nationals was commonplace. Though this belief had profound consequences for Britain's treatment of political and religious exiles, its relations with foreign states, and the drafting of its extradition and immigration laws, there has been little enquiry into its origins. This article delineates the emergence of the idea of a constitutional ‘right of asylum', locating it in a series (...) of political clashes over the ‘Alien Act' that took place during the decade after the Napoleonic Wars. This legislation, which established controls over foreigners during the French Revolution and the quarter-century of war that followed, was increasingly challenged by the Whig and radical oppositions after Waterloo, both for its specific arbitrary provisions and as a more fundamental violation of the rights of aliens guaranteed by key constitutional documents like Magna Carta and the Habeas Corpus Act. By the mid-1820s these objections cohered into a conviction that asylum itself could be claimed as a right. This conviction and the arguments that spawned it were repeated for many subsequent decades, forming the basis of the widespread Victorian belief in the ‘right of asylum’. (shrink)
This book analyzes the general structure of constitutionalrights reasoning under the Geman Basic Law. It deals with a wide range of problems common to all systems of constitutionalrights review. In an extended introduction the translator argues for its applicability to the British Constitution, with particular reference to the Human Rights Act 1998.
The paper makes a twofold contribution. Firstly, it advances a preliminary account of the conditions that need to obtain for constitutionalrights to be democratic. Secondly, in so doing, it defends precommitment-based theories from a criticism raised by Jeremy Waldron—namely, that constitutionalrights do not become any more democratic when they are democratically adopted, for the people could adopt undemocratic policies without such policies becoming democratic as a result. The paper shows that the reductio applies to (...) political rights, yet not to non-political rights, such as reproductive, environmental, or privacy rights. The democratic status of the former is process-independent. The latter, by contrast, are democratic precisely when they are adopted by democratic means. (shrink)
There are two fundamentally different conceptions of the nature of constitutionalrights: a positivistic conception and a non-positivistic conception. According to both, constitutionalrights are part of the positive law. The difference is that in the positivistic conception, constitutionalrights are only or exclusively positive law, whereas in the non-positivistic conception positivity represents but one side of constitutionalrights, that is to say, their real or factual side. Over and above this, (...) class='Hi'>constitutionalrights, according to the non-positivistic conception, also have an ideal or critical dimension. This is not without reason. For as with all law, constitutionalrights necessarily raise, in connection with principles theory, a claim to correctness. This claim to correctness leads to a necessary connection between constitutionalrights understood as positive rights and human rights understood as moral rights, and, with this, to the dual nature of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
This paper deals with the question of the conflict of constitutionalrights with regard to basic rights. Two extreme accounts are outlined: the subsumptive approach and the particularistic approach, that embody two main conceptions of practical rationality. Between the two approaches there is room for a range of options, two of which are examined: the proportionalist approach, which conserves the scope of rights restricting their stringency, and the specificationist approach, which preserves the stringency of rights (...) restricting their scope. I will present arguments in defence of the latter. (shrink)
In this Article I argue that the reductionism of global models of constitutionalrights is problematic. Despite how they are labelled, these theories are typically modelled on the domestic constitutional law of an exclusive group of Western countries. The criteria for selecting these countries are not usually clearly or satisfactorily articulated. They then go on to present a simplistic version of the domestic constitutional law of the countries they are describing. The combined effect of these analytic (...) moves raises questions about what is lost in the process, and in particular, whether these frameworks allow for adequate recognition of the claims of those seeking – and achieving – social change within a constitutional democracy. Drawing on insights from critical legal studies, and in particular scholars who seek the decolonization of constitutional law, I argue that the utility of global theories of constitutionalrights depends on their ability to recognize and give voice to the forces of social change. Otherwise, they risk being descriptively inaccurate and even damaging to the broader causes they seek to advance. (shrink)
The essay responds to a challenge posed by Vanessa MacDonnell and examines the question of stability and change under the global model of constitutionalrights. Constitutionalism offers the promise of both stability and justice, but it may seem that there will often be a tension between these values. While some have accused the global model, and in particular proportionality, of overemphasizing justice at the cost of stability, MacDonnell claims that it underemphasizes the necessity of social change. In this (...) response, I argue that in the long run the push for social change and towards justice can be realized only when there is also a certain stability, namely the stubborn democratic insistence that any state action must be reasonably justifiable to those affected by it in terms of their freedom and equality. This conviction lies at the core and will be reinforced by the endorsement of the global model of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
On May 2, 2006, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a startling opinion, Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Eschenbach, held that terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other available options have a constitutional right to experimental treatment that FDA has not yet approved. Although ultimately overturned by the full court, Abigail Alliance generated considerable interest from various constituencies. Meanwhile, FDA proposed similar regulatory amendments, as have (...) lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress. But proponents of expanded access fail to consider public health and consumer safety concerns. In particular, allowing patients to try unproven treatments, outside of controlled clinical trials risks both the study's outcome and the health of patients who might benefit from the deliberate, careful process of new drug approval as it currently operates under FDA's auspices. (shrink)
Do terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other available, government-approved treatment options have a constitutional right to experimental treatment that may prolong their lives? On May 2, 2006, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a startling opinion, Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Von Eschenbach, held “Yes.” The plaintiffs, Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs and Washington Legal Foundation, sought to enjoin the Food and (...) Drug Administration from refusing to allow the sale of investigational new drugs that had not yet received FDA approval. The terminally ill plaintiffs contended that they quite literally could not wait that long for the drugs. With no other treatment options available, the plaintiffs urged the court to recognize a fundamental, constitutional right to take potentially life-saving or life-prolonging drugs, even though the treatment had not been fully tested through human trials for safety and effectiveness and could not be legally marketed to the public. (shrink)
In the jurisprudence of constitutional courts around the world, there is an emerging trend towards an autonomy-based understanding of constitutionalrights: increasingly, rights are interpreted as being about enabling people to live autonomous lives, rather than disabling the state in certain ways. This article investigates the conception of autonomy employed by courts by presenting two candidates and examining which of them explains the current practice of constitutionalrights law better. The first, labelled the excluded (...) reasons conception of autonomy, claims that a person’s autonomy is violated if he is treated on the basis of certain impermissible—in particular, moralistic or paternalistic—reasons. It is concluded that, while this is a coherent understanding of autonomy, it cannot explain many of the rights that are widely accepted today. The second, the protected interests conception, argues that a person has autonomy interests in controlling certain domains of her life, and offers a scale on which the importance of the various autonomy interests can be assessed. The article demonstrates that this conception is coherent and adequately explains the current practice. The final section briefly explores some implications of this result for a comprehensive reconstructive theory of constitutionalrights. (shrink)
This paper explores the role that empathy can play in the interpretation of constitutionalrights. It starts by analyzing the complex concept of empathy, comparing it with similar yet distinct concepts such as projection, sympathy and emotional contagion, then it discusses the widespread distrust of empathy among lawyers and legal thinkers. It will be argued that empathy can play a significant role in the interpretation of constitutionalrights, mostly in identifying the interests and needs put forward (...) in the claims and counterclaims of the parties. In the final section, the impact of empathetic judging on judicial minimalism will be briefly discussed. (shrink)
Does the effective protection of constitutionalrights require a system of robust judicial review? This differs from the question of whether judicial review is democratically legitimate, although the two are often merged. The dominant liberal constitutional discourse concerning the requirement of judicial review has arguably suffered from a degree of insensitivity to the actual effects of specific judicial review systems. In contrast to a fact‐insensitive approach, I suggest that the ‘matrix’ of rights‐protection in any specific system (...) of judicial constitutional review must incorporate two types of calculation. The first must compare incidences of the invalidation of ‘wrong’ statutes (on the ‘gains’ side) with invalidations of ‘right’ statutes and cases of upholding ‘wrong’ statutes (on the ‘losses’ side). The second looks at the gains and losses resulting from the very existence of the system of judicial review (rather than the specific cases that have been upheld or invalidated). It thus recognizes the deep disagreement between individuals about their preferred interpretations of constitutionalrights. Under some conditions, the results of this matrix may be modified by arguments about an overlap in preferred articulations of constitutionalrights, prudence, and the deliberative nature of the courts that exercise constitutional review, and the paper concludes with a discussion of how this can occur. We do not have to have a court that will strike down laws—a court with the power of judicial review—to have a vibrant language of fundamental rights available to us. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of a landmark Italian judgement regarding end-of-life advance directives, emphasizing the legal and political context in which the decision was made. The analysis particularly focuses on the political majority's attempt to overturn the outcome of the courts' proceedings – thereby challenging the country's institutional order and jeopardizing constitutionalrights.