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Legal Theory in the Collapse of Weimar: Contemporary Lessons?

  • David Dyzenhaus (a1)
Abstract

The Weimar Republic is frequently invoked in political theory as an example when the issue is the appropriate response of liberal democracies to internal, fundamental challenges. I explore that example through the lens of a 1932 court case that tested the legality of the federal government's “coup” against Prussia. In my analysis of the court's judgment and of the arguments of three political and public law theorists, Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen, and Hermann Heller, I argue for Heller's democratic vision of the rule of law. In my conclusion, I compare problems in Kelsen's position with problems in the recently articulated position of John Rawls in order to suggest what lessons Weimar may have for contemporary political theory.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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