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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

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 ...


E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler Jan 2013

E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler

Aaron J Shuler

Rogers Smith writes that American political culture can best be understood as a blend of liberal, republican and illiberal ascriptive ideologies. The U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence has largely reflected this thesis. While the Court moved away from permitting laws that explicitly construct hierarchies in the 20th century and made tepid references to egalitarian principles during the Warren Court, liberalism has prevailed in the majority of the Court’s decisions. Gains in civil rights through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process clauses were achieved primarily through liberal notions of de-regulation, a market economy and ...


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.


How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Abstract: This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.

From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if ...


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 ...


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 ...