Three Essays on Proportionality Doctrine

53 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2016 Last revised: 14 Dec 2016

Date Written: August 4, 2016


The following three essays deal with diverse aspects of the doctrine of proportionality. The first argues that rationality review in U.S. constitutional law, which deals with challenges to legislation on the ground that the legislation violates a general right to liberty rather than any specific enumerated right, could be improved by expressly incorporating several features of proportionality doctrine. The second addresses the often made claim that proportionality analysis leads to “rights inflation,” and offers a doctrinal account and a politico-cultural account of that phenomenon. The third, to appear in a collection co-edited by Vicki C. Jackson and Mark Tushnet, tentatively titled New Frontiers in Proportionality Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 2017), argues that some cases treated as “easy’ under proportionality doctrine, are actually more difficult, and that recognizing their difficulty supports, to some degree, the adoption of the kind of categorical analysis that proportionality doctrine is thought to reject.

Keywords: Comparative constitutional law, proportionality, rationality review

Suggested Citation

Tushnet, Mark V., Three Essays on Proportionality Doctrine (August 4, 2016). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 16-43, Available at SSRN: or

Mark V. Tushnet (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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