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Judicial Review in an Age of Moral Pluralism

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About the Authors
  • Americans cannot live with judicial review, but they cannot live without it. There is something characteristically American about turning the most divisive political questions – like freedom of religion, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and abortion – into legal questions with the hope that courts can answer them. In Judicial Review in an Age of Moral Pluralism Ronald C. Den Otter addresses how judicial review can be improved to strike the appropriate balance between legislative and judicial power under conditions of moral pluralism. His defense of judicial review is predicated on the imperative of ensuring that the reasons that the state offers on behalf of its most important laws are consistent with the freedom and equality of all persons. Den Otter ties this defense to a theory of constitutional adjudication based on John Rawls’s idea of public reason and argues that a law that is not sufficiently publicly justified is unconstitutional, thus addressing when courts should invalidate laws and when they should uphold them even in the midst of reasonable disagreement about the correct outcome in particular constitutional controversies.

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Judicial Review in an Age of Moral Pluralism is an important work of constitutional theory that deserves a wide readership in philosophy, political science, and law. It fills an important void in conceptual space by melding work in political philosophy on public reason with theories of constitutional interpretation and judicial review. Ron Den Otter makes that case that the practice of judicial review must be informed by an ideal of public reason--his arguments have important implications for fundamental debates about judicial review, fundamental rights, and the relationship between legal reason, politics, and religion. This is one of the most creative and interesting books on constitutional theory to appear in the past several years.”
    --Lawrence B. Solum, John E. Cribbet Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy University of Illinois College of Law, Editor of Legal Theory Blog

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511601903
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction
    1. Public justification and constitutional theory
    2. Freedom and equality in constitutional history
    3. The challenge of public justification
    4. Competing conceptions of public reason
    5. Constitutional public reason
    6. The limits of public justification
    7. Standard objections to public reason
    8. Easier cases
    9. Harder cases
    10. The case for judicial review
    Conclusion
    References
    Index.

  • Author

    Ronald C. Den Otter, California Polytechnic State University

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