Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Political Science Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke Apr 2018

Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke

Anthony O'Rourke

This is a review essay of The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana. The book presents a new and provocative account of the relationship between ideas of freedom and the constitutional structure of American power. Through the nineteenth century, Rana argues, America’s constitutional structure was shaped by a racially exclusionary, yet economically robust, concept that he calls “settler freedom.” Drawing on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of settler colonial studies, as well as on the vast historical literature on civic republicanism, Rana contends that the concept of settler freedom necessitated a constitutional framework that enabled rapid territorial expansion ...


Of First Principles & Organic Laws, Pietro Poggi May 2017

Of First Principles & Organic Laws, Pietro Poggi

Graduate Master's Theses, Capstones, and Culminating Projects

The First Principles and Organic Laws of the United States ought to be part of a daily discussion at every water cooler and every dinner table in the country. Instead, it is entirely possible there have been days, weeks, months—or even years—when neither term has been spoken anywhere in America. Yet, during the first several decades of the country’s existence, the concepts of First Principles and Organic Laws were commonly discussed; in fact these notions were crucial to the founding of the country and its political organization. Works concerning the foundation of the United States, the Declaration ...


Avoiding The Guillotine: The Need For Balance And Purpose In Determining Fundamental Rights Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Timothy A. Campbell Jan 2015

Avoiding The Guillotine: The Need For Balance And Purpose In Determining Fundamental Rights Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Timothy A. Campbell

Timothy A Campbell

This Article examines the need to bridge the two fields of thought in fundamental rights jurisprudence. This Article argues two points. Broadly, an objective principle to determine fundamental rights is non-existent because rights by their nature are subjective. Hence, the Court must accept some subjectivity, but it needs to install guideposts to direct the judge’s discretion. The Court also needs to adopt a balanced approach that combines rationalism and traditionalism. They need to look at the purpose of the asserted right, the specificity of the asserted right, legal precedent, and history in formulating a balanced approach.


Public Reason As Higher Law, Gordon D. Ballingrud Jan 2014

Public Reason As Higher Law, Gordon D. Ballingrud

Gordon D Ballingrud

This paper presents a model of higher-law formation by employing a modified version of John Rawls’ idea of public reason. The model specifies a theory of public reason that combines the procedural and substantive aspects of public reason, and extends the concept over a third dimension, time. This concept, by virtue of its multi-generational democratic pedigree, forms a repository of political and legal concepts of justice that conform to the duty of civility, and the broad consensus on political and legal norms required of the content of public reason, which forms the overlapping consensus. Thus, public reason as higher law ...


Neoliberalism And The Law Reassessing Historical Materialist Analysis Of The Law For The 21st Century, Justin Schwartz Jan 2013

Neoliberalism And The Law Reassessing Historical Materialist Analysis Of The Law For The 21st Century, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

Historical materialism has been called in question by the triumph of neoliberalism and the fall of Communism. I show, by consideration of two examples, the 2008 crisis and recent Supreme Court campaign spending First Amendment jurisprudence, that neoliberalism instead vindicates the explanatory power of (non-mechanical and non-deterministic) historical materialism in accounting for a wide range of recent legal developments in legislation, executive (in)action, and judicial decision-making.


Theorizing American Freedom (Reviewing Aziz Rana, The Two Faces Of American Freedom (2010)), Anthony O'Rourke Apr 2012

Theorizing American Freedom (Reviewing Aziz Rana, The Two Faces Of American Freedom (2010)), Anthony O'Rourke

Book Reviews

This is a review essay of The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana. The book presents a new and provocative account of the relationship between ideas of freedom and the constitutional structure of American power. Through the nineteenth century, Rana argues, America’s constitutional structure was shaped by a racially exclusionary, yet economically robust, concept that he calls “settler freedom.” Drawing on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of settler colonial studies, as well as on the vast historical literature on civic republicanism, Rana contends that the concept of settler freedom necessitated a constitutional framework that enabled rapid territorial expansion ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Race, Colorblindness And Equality In Recent Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Assessing An Evolving Standard, Steven V. Mazie Jan 2011

Race, Colorblindness And Equality In Recent Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Assessing An Evolving Standard, Steven V. Mazie

Steven V. Mazie

This essay weighs the merits of the ascendant interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment: a colorblind reading of equality that received a boost in the Court’s Ricci v. DeStefano decision of 2009. In Ricci, the Court concluded that the City of New Haven had acted illegally when it scrapped a promotion exam for firefighters on which whites had vastly outperformed black and Hispanic candidates. The article opens by surveying the major twists and turns of the Supreme Court’s view of racial classifications since the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. It updates that history ...


Constituent Authority, Richard Kay Dec 2010

Constituent Authority, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

The force of a constitution, like the force of all enacted law, derives, in significant part, from the circumstances of its enactment. Legal and political theory have long recognized the logical necessity of a “constituent power.” That recognition, however, tells us little about what is necessary for the successful enactment of an enduring constitution. Long term acceptance of a constitution requires a continuing regard for the process that brought it into being. There must be, that is, recognition of the “constituent authority” of the constitution-makers. This paper is a consideration of the idea of “constituent authority” drawing on a comparison ...


Equality, Race And Gifted Education: An Egalitarian Critique Of Admission To New York City's Specialized High Schools, Steven V. Mazie Apr 2009

Equality, Race And Gifted Education: An Egalitarian Critique Of Admission To New York City's Specialized High Schools, Steven V. Mazie

Steven V. Mazie

Educational programs for gifted students face both philosophical and practical challenges from egalitarians. Some object that gifted schools inherently undermine a commitment to equality in education, while others observe that schools for talented students cater to privileged youth and effectively discriminate against disadvantaged minorities. This article taps into recent theorizing on equality to explore an illuminating case study: admissions policies at New York City’s so-called ‘specialized’ high schools. After dismissing less nuanced proposals on both ends of the spectrum, I draw upon Elizabeth Anderson’s theory of ‘democratic egalitarianism’ to argue that, while schools devoted to talented students could ...


Boyakasha, Fist To Fist: Respect And The Philosophical Link With Reciprocity In International Law And Human Rights, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2005

Boyakasha, Fist To Fist: Respect And The Philosophical Link With Reciprocity In International Law And Human Rights, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

From Grotius to Hobbes to Locke to an unconventional modern pop-culture manifestation in Ali G, the concept of “respect” has always been understood as important in human interaction and human agreements. The concept of mutual understanding and obligation pervades human interaction, and, for purposes of this Article, international relations. Almost all basic principles in English, United States, and other country’s laws that value human and individual rights have based, over time, the development of their laws on the philosophical principle of respect. So much of common and statutory law is designed to enforce respect for others. The principle question ...


Book Review Essay: Canada's Constitutional Cul De Sac, Richard Kay Dec 2004

Book Review Essay: Canada's Constitutional Cul De Sac, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

Book reivew of 'Constitutional Odyssey: Can Canadians Become a Sovereign People?', by Peter H. Russell (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004).


The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster Dec 2004

The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

The normative concept of transparency, along with the open government laws that purport to create a transparent public system of governance promise the world—a democratic and accountable state above all, and a peaceful, prosperous, and efficient one as well. But transparency, in its role as the theoretical justification for a set of legal commands, frustrates all parties affected by its ambiguities and abstractions. The public’s engagement with transparency in practice yields denials of reasonable requests for essential government information, as well as government meetings that occur behind closed doors. Meanwhile, state officials bemoan the significantly impaired decision-making processes ...


The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay Dec 2002

The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

When the Supreme Court of Canada issued its judgment on the legality of "unilateral" Quebec secession in August 1998 many Canadians did not know what to make of it. The Court held that the only lawful way in which Quebec might depart the Canadian federation was through one of the amendment mechanisms provided in the Constitution Act 1982. It thus affirmed that Quebec could not secede without the agreement of at least the Houses of the federal Parliament and some number of provincial legislative assemblies. Prime Minister Chretien declared the next day that the judgement was a "victory for all ...


Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz Jan 2001

Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

Is the family subject to principles of justice? In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls includes the (monogamous) family along with the market and the government as among the "basic institutions of society" to which principles of justice apply. Justice, he famously insists, is primary in politics as truth is in science: the only excuse for tolerating injustice is that no lesser injustice is possible. The point of the present paper is that Rawls doesn't actually mean this. When it comes to the family, and in particular its impact on fair equal opportunity (the first part of the the ...


Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz Jan 1997

Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into ...