How to Be a Free People
American Journal of Jurisprudence, 58 2: 163-182, 2013
Posted: 12 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2013
This article considers what it is for a free people to rule and to be ruled. The rule of a free people is the rule of the whole people, not merely of some part thereof, even if a majority. However, it does not follow that collective self-government requires or warrants judicial supremacy, for the courts are not better placed than the legislature to represent the whole people in choosing what is to be done. The rule of a free people involves the joint action of a united people, the members of which form a purposive group. The group stands ready to recognize authority, which is an exercise in rational agency. The constitution of a free people frames this joint action, making it possible for persons jointly to respond to reasons with coherent choice. A free people consists in free and equal persons, but again this does not require or warrant judicial supremacy. The main arguments to the contrary take for granted an unsound account of the free person, a sound account of whom is central to explaining how a people may be free and why it ought to be.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation