21 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2020

See all articles by Grégoire Webber

Grégoire Webber

Queen's University - Faculty of Law; London School of Economics - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 6, 2020


This chapter, forthcoming in The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory (Richard Bellamy and Jeff King, eds., Cambridge University Press), explores the idea of opposition. One may make known one’s opposition to specific measures and one may make known one’s opposition to those who hold the office of government (sec. II-III). While opposition to those who rule may flourish only in constitutional arrangements that contemplate changes in government, the freedom to make known opposition to measures may obtain and flourish even absent such arrangements. These two different modalities of opposition—to measures and to governments—draw on a reciprocal understanding that those who oppose and those who rule are both committed to the public good (sec. IV). Depending on the design of its system of government, a constitution may enable or empower opposition, with the parliamentary form of government differing in important respects from the presidential (sec. V). Some constitutional arrangements and proposals award to opposition members in legislatures and elsewhere some degree of authority in exercising the office of government. Whatever the merits of such coalition or consensus arrangements and proposals, they change the function of opposition, for when those who oppose begin to govern, a version of the question quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who guards the guardians) arises: who stands in opposition to the opposition (sec. VI)?

Keywords: opposition, loyalty, legislatures, Parliament, Congress, parliamentary government, presidential system, constitutional design

Suggested Citation

Webber, Grégoire, Opposition (December 6, 2020). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 16/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3743715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3743715

Grégoire Webber (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Kingston, Ontario K7L3N6

HOME PAGE: http://law.queensu.ca/directory/gregoire-webber

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

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London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/law/staff/gregoire-webber.htm

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