Patriotism or Integrity? Constitutional Community in Divided Societies

(2011) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31(3) 503-526

Queen's University Belfast Law Research Paper No. 26

33 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2013 Last revised: 17 Dec 2013

See all articles by Alex Schwartz

Alex Schwartz

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 29, 2013

Abstract

Some commentators worry that a plurinational constitutional order can only ever be an inherently unstable modus vivendi. They fear that the accommodation of sub-state nationalism will tend to undermine the viability of constitutional democracies. This article enlists Ronald Dworkin’s theory of ‘law as integrity’ to show how these concerns might be assuaged. My central claim is that the expressive value of integrity can drive a divided society in the direction of an eventual ‘community of principle, even in the absence of a common political identity. I argue that this model of political community is a more plausible prescription for divided societies than the theory that competing nationalisms might be superseded by constitutional patriotism. I go on to explain, however, that integrity has a better chance of realising this potential if the generally judge-centric focus of Dworkin’s theory is expanded to make greater room for non-judicial interpretative responsibility. Occasional references are made to the example of Northern Ireland to illustrate my points.

Keywords: constitutional patriotism, integrity, national pluralism, Ronald Dworkin

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Alex, Patriotism or Integrity? Constitutional Community in Divided Societies (September 29, 2013). (2011) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31(3) 503-526, Queen's University Belfast Law Research Paper No. 26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2333136

Alex Schwartz (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

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