The Irrelevance of Sincerity: Deliberative Democracy in the Supreme Court

22 Pages Posted: 16 May 2004

See all articles by John M. Kang

John M. Kang

St. Thomas University School of Law


Insincerity is regarded as a roguish intruder in democratic discourse where people are expected to speak their minds freely yet with a measure of sincere concern for their fellow citizens. This general cultural response has found formal articulation in the prominent scholarly movement which in recent years has assembled under the heading of "deliberative democracy". Its advocates - who include a diverse mix of some of the most prominent law professors, philosophers and political theorists - argue that people should frame their justifications in terms of the common good or the public generally, and that such justifications, at least sometimes, should be sincere. Against such insistence on sincerity, I argue that sincerity is both logically and practically irrelevant in contributing to a meaningful realm of free speech that can help generate diverse options for an audience to consider in its search for provisional political "truths".

Keywords: Insincerity, truth, public discourse, deliberative democracy

Suggested Citation

Kang, John M., The Irrelevance of Sincerity: Deliberative Democracy in the Supreme Court. Saint Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2004. Available at SSRN:

John M. Kang (Contact Author)

St. Thomas University School of Law ( email )

16401 NW 37th Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL 33054
United States
305.474.2460 (Phone)
305.623.2397 (Fax)


Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics