Self-Defeating Proposals: Ackerman on Emergency Powers
21 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2006
This paper responds to Bruce Ackerman's recent book on emergency powers (After the Next Attack: Emergency Powers in an Age of Terrorism). Ackerman stumbles into a methodological pitfall by offering a self-defeating proposal: the diagnosis that Ackerman offers itself rules out the prescription that he suggests. Proposals defeat themselves when the motives, beliefs or political opportunities ascribed to relevant actors by the theorist's diagnosis are incompatible with the solution that the theorist offers. The value of the book, then, is that it provides a methodological cautionary tale.
Keywords: emergencies, constitutionalism, statutes, executive, constitutional law, legislation, national security law
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