Decision and Advocacy by Legislators and Citizens

Kent Greenawalt

in Private Consciences and Public Reasons

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195094190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853021 | DOI:
Decision and Advocacy by Legislators and Citizens

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This chapter presents problems of possible principles of self-restraint for legislators and citizens and of presidents (and other chief executives) and administrative officials. The consideration of most citizens in this chapter is based on two main reasons: One is that comparisons between citizens and government officials help illuminate appropriate standards for each. The second reason involves a more direct relationship between legislators (and elected executives) and citizens. Legislators should exercise some combination of their own judgments and deference to the judgments and expressed interests of citizens, especially their own constituents. Thus, the concern about possible self restraint by legislators is twofold: Should they rely for judgment and use in public advocacy upon their own comprehensive views and nonaccessible reasons? Should they rely upon and use in public advocacy the convictions of citizens that are grounded in this way? A sharp discrepancy between what legislators and citizens appropriately rely upon would create an unfortunate tension.

Keywords: nonaccessible grounds; comprehensive grounds; legislators; citizens; presidents; administrative officials; vote

Chapter.  6577 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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