Constitutional Principles: Political Rights


in Constitutional Goods

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199225798
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706516 | DOI:
Constitutional Principles: Political Rights

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This chapter discusses the shape of the political rights generated by the constitution of liberty — in particular, the contours of the right to political speech, election spending, and equality. It contrasts the rightful limits of civil and political speech; and it argues that the rightful limits of political speech vary depending on whether speech accepts the ruling conception of public reason and merely criticizes the ruler's specification thereof or criticizes the ruling conception itself. It explains the libertarian right to equality as a right to be ruled by laws embodying mutual respect for freedom of choice. The meaning of this right is spelled out, and the shortcomings of the libertarian conception of equality are discussed. Finally, the chapter argues that the libertarian conception of public reason collapses into either majoritarian, judicial, or founders' despotism, giving way to a better conception informing a new constitutional paradigm: egalitarian liberalism.

Keywords: political speech; seditious utterance; subversive advocacy; election spending; equal protection; counter-majoritarian problem; originalism

Chapter.  20190 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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