How Constitutional Theory Found its Soul: The Contributions of Ronald Dworkin
46 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2005
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.
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