Through an analysis of the US Supreme Court's case Heller this paper argues that legal process can be pragmatically reconceptualized so as to create information necessary to decide complex social issues. This is in contrast to other more standard conceptions of law as more emphasizing what information ought to be excluded.
In this paper I argue that John Dewey developed a philosophy of law that follows directly from his conception of democracy. Indeed, under Dewey’s theory an understanding of law can only follow from an accurate understanding of the social and political context within which it functions. This has important implications for the form law takes within democ- ratic society. The paper will explore these implications through a comparison of Dewey’s claims with those of Richard Posner and Ronald Dworkin; two other (...) theorists that inti- mately link law and democracy. After outlining their theories I will use the recent United States Supreme Court case, Citizens United, to discuss how practitioners of the three theo- ries would decide a case that implicates both the rule of law and democratic procedures. In order to do this judges following each theory, “Dews, Dworks and Poses,” are imagined. Ul- timately this paper will show that drastically different results to Citizens United would fol- low. The (tentative) conclusion of the paper is that Dewey’s conception of the relationship between democracy and law is a superior option to either that of Dworkin or Posner. (shrink)
Lochner represents a crucial case in American constitutional law. An investigation of the decision highlights important philosophical aspects of the place of law in a democratic society. Analysis of contemporary stances on Lochner, the actual Lochner opinion (including the dissents by Harlan and Holmes) and how judges following the legal philosophies of John Dewey, Ronald Dworkin and Richard Posner (“Dews,” “Dworks,” and “Poses”) would have decided the case shows that Dewey’s theory of law and democracy emerges as the most attractive (...) alternative. (shrink)
Sen argues that Rawls’ political theory suffers from the flaw of “institutional fundamentalism.” In response, he develops an alternate theory of justice that does not rely upon contractarian premises. I argue that Sen’s theory largely maps on to the insights of classic pragmatist thought. Further, the pragmatic tradition can help critique and supplement Sen’s project.
In this article I investigate the implications of antirealism, as characterized by Richard Rorty, for First Amendment jurisprudence under the United States Constitution. It is hoped that the implications, while played out in the context of a specific tradition, will have more universal application. In Section 1, Rortys pragmatic antirealism is briefly outlined. In Section 2, some effects of the elimination of the concept of truth for First Amendment jurisprudence are investigated. Section 3 argues for the conclusion that given the (...) antirealist stance, the Supreme Courts usage of the true/ false fact distinction is actually an uncritical allowance of viewpoint-based discrimination into speech protection that has potentially far-reaching and restrictive results for important speech. Finally, in Section 4 Rortys antirealism is combined with various traditional models of First Amendment analysis to see how it would function. The conclusions aimed at are twofold. First, that Rortian antirealism is compatible with the traditional models underlying First Amendment theory. Second, that a realization that truth is the result of, in Rortys words, intra-mundane discourse leads to an argument for different and potentially stronger and more farreaching protections to speech. (shrink)
Popular images of rights almost always emphasize their protective qualities. But who is really protected? In this paper it is argued that contemporary rights talk, because of faulty underlying assumptions, systematically favors prejudice and big property interests. Further, once the mistaken assumptions are surrendered, and it is realized that all rights are affirmative, a less systematically misleading debate can be created within the realm of rights discourse.
In this paper, I aim to show that the arguments offered and conclusions at which Rawls aims in his book, The Law of Peoples, are telling as to the intellectual legitimacy of his larger theoretical project. To show this I first investigate how (1) non-liberal peoples fit within the limitations Rawls describes in The Law of Peoples and (2) how liberal peoples would react to such rules. I argue from the answers to these questions to the further conclusion that by (...) spreading the principles and tools of A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism to the international realm some assumptions implicit in the earlier works come out more clearly. The final section of the paper analyzes some of the implications of the newly exposed assumptions for Rawls's project of liberal justice. (shrink)