How Constitutional Theory Found Its Soul: The Contributions of Ronald Dworkin

46 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2005  

Rebecca L. Brown

USC Gould School of Law

Abstract

Like rain falling to a parched earth, Ronald Dworkin's early work lighted upon a field of constitutional thought desiccated by embarrassment over Brown v. Board of Education. From a distance of a half century, it is difficult to appreciate the profound chagrin that had arisen from what now seems a simple judicial declaration of equality. Yet the decision had hurled the world of constitutional theory into decades of existential angst, leading it, temporarily, to lose a grasp on its soul.

This essay explores some ways in which Dworkin's frank discussion of rights as well as his thick notion of equality helped restore optimism and aspiration to the constitutional project when it was in dire need of uplifting. It also traces effects of Dworkin's work in some of the constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court.

Suggested Citation

Brown, Rebecca L., How Constitutional Theory Found Its Soul: The Contributions of Ronald Dworkin. EXPLORING LAW'S EMPIRE, Oxford University Press, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=709083

Rebecca L. Brown (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-1892 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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