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Rethinking Constitutional Ordering in an Era of Legal and Ideological Pluralism

39 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008  

Michel Rosenfeld

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

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We live in an increasingly pluralistic legal and ideological universe. Nation-state legal regimes are currently supplemented by numerous transnational and global orders that defy any workable hierarchy or cogent unity. As a consequence, the various applicable legal regimes are often inconsistent with one another and even, at times, mutually contradictory. This problem is compounded by the proliferation of competing ideologies and by the increasing rifts among them. This makes it seemingly impossible to reconcile all the legal norms to which one is subject or to harmonize the prevailing plurality of legal regimes within the confines of a commonly shared ideology. Based on an analysis of contemporary legal and philosophical pluralism and of the convergences among the two, the article argues that it is possible to reconcile legal and ideological pluralism by abandoning hierarchy and countenancing inconsistencies falling short of incompatibilities in a highly layered and segmented legal universe.

Keywords: pluralism, westphalian, minorities, proportionality, constitutions, democracy

Suggested Citation

Rosenfeld, Michel, Rethinking Constitutional Ordering in an Era of Legal and Ideological Pluralism. International Journal of Constitutional Law (I.CON), Vol. 6, Nos. 3-4, October 2008; Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 242. Available at SSRN:

Michel Rosenfeld (Contact Author)

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