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LAW, PLANS, AND PRACTICAL REASON

  • Scott J. Shapiro (a1)
Abstract

I. MORALITY OR CONVENTION?

American lawyers are audacious by nature and have been known, on more than one occasion, to make outrageous arguments on behalf of their clients. Yet there is one claim that even the most shameless of lawyers would not put forward in an American court: No one would ever challenge the idea that the United States Constitution is law in the United States.1. Imagine a lawyer saying to a judge: “Yes, your honor, I concede that my client purposefully engaged in multiple acts of counterfeiting. But, unfortunately for the prosecution, Article I of the Constitution is not good law, and hence Congress lacks the authority to criminalize counterfeiting. The court has no choice but to set my client free.” For if there is one proposition of law that enjoys universal acceptance by the bench and is held with unshakable conviction, it is that the United States Constitution determines the authority structure of the federal government and is legally binding on all officials.

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Legal Theory
  • ISSN: 1352-3252
  • EISSN: 1469-8048
  • URL: /core/journals/legal-theory
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