Abstract

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Constitutionalism


Larry Alexander


University of San Diego School of Law


CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, Thomas Christiano, John Christman, eds., Forthcoming
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-04

Abstract:     
In this encyclopedia entry I take up these questions: What are constitutions? What functions do they perform? And are they on balance desirable? My answer to the first question focuses on the relative entrenchment of constitutional norms relative to other legal norms and not primarily their position in the hierarchy of legal validity. My answer to the second question is that constitutions perform a variety of functions, from setting up governmental institutions and protecting various rights to guarding against various ways governmental decisionmakers can be corrupted or "misincentivized." With respect to the third question, I engage the arguments of super democrats and anti-constitutionalists such as Jeremy Waldron.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: constitutions, entrenchment, hierarchy of legal validity, democracy, judicial review

JEL Classification: K10

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Date posted: September 22, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Larry, Constitutionalism. CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, Thomas Christiano, John Christman, eds., Forthcoming; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-04. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=802885

Contact Information

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-2317 (Phone)
619-260-4728 (Fax)
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