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In several works, Veronica Rodríguez-Blanco has proposed an approach to the normativity of legal rules and intentional rule-following in the frame of the “guise of the good” model of intentional action. She argues that, on this approach, Raz’s conception of legal authority implies that legal rules cannot be rational guides for intentional actions. I will argue that Rodríguez-Blanco’s proposal does not succeed in addressing the practical relevance of legal rules. However, I shall argue that a weak version of her criticism of Raz still holds. Thus, this discussion provides a suitable framework from which I will propose a reflection on the normativity of legal rules. This reflection aims to show how legal norms can count as rational guides for intentional agents without being irrelevant in practical reasoning.
En «What Makes a Transnational Rule of Law? Understanding the Logos and Values of Human Action in Transnational Law», Verónica Rodríguez-Blanco explora la posibilidad –y oportunidad– de la existencia de un Rule of Law (en adelante, ROL) a nivel transnacional. El objetivo de este trabajo es discutir brevemente algunos puntos relativos a diferentes facetas de la propuesta de Rodríguez-Blanco: la pregunta correcta acerca del ROL y su visión particular acerca de la acción humana (sección 2); el tipo de explicación acerca de las reglas, estándares, reglamentos y principios (sección 3); las definiciones de ROL, coerción, y libertad (sección 4); las partes de la relación relevante y la noción de derecho transnacional (sección 5), y la estructura de las relaciones relevantes en contextos nacionales y transnacionales (sección 6). Intentaré, por una parte, mostrar cómo estos puntos pueden presentarse como relativamente problemáticos y por tanto debilitar la integridad de la propuesta de Rodriguez-Blanco; y, por otra parte, ofrecer algunas alternativas acerca de cómo estos problemas podrían ser resueltos para fortalecerla. A través de esos comentarios intentaré también mostrar cuáles serían, en mi opinión, los puntos importantes a considerar para cualquier discurso o propuesta sólida relacionada con éstos. Finalmente, concluiré con algunos comentarios finales (sección 7).
Deliberative constitutionalism is an emerging field that combines constitutional theory – and its emphasis on legal limits to political power – with deliberative democratic theory – and its idea of political deliberation as the source of democratic legitimacy. This combination creates a new framework to address questions of legitimacy that arise in constitutional democracies. The article contributes to this growing area of research by exploring its potential to address the legitimacy of judicial review. First, the article argues that this potential lies in the integration of constitutional theory with a systemic approach to deliberative democracy and the nested idea of a deliberative system. Second, the article draws on this integration to account for the legitimacy of judicial review as an institution embedded in – and shaped by – a deliberative, representative, system.
Populism entails a critique of liberal constitutionalism. There are many varieties of populism, and hence of populist constitutionalism. This article argues that inclusionary democratic (as opposed to authoritarian) populism is related to popular and political constitutionalism. They share a common concern against the excessive juridification and depoliticization of society, and they call for the democratization of constitutional law, considering its current elitism, professionalism and legalism—that is, its insulation from politics and the people—as a source of peril. The article examines seminal contributions on popular and political constitutionalism by Mark Tushnet, Larry Kramer, and Richard Bellamy. It then identifies the radical-democratic element that these approaches share with progressive populism and discusses some aspects of the populist constitutionalism of the SYRIZA-led government in Greece (2015-2019). Democratizing liberal constitutionalism may counter the rise of authoritarian populism; in that respect, some amount of “healthy” populism might be necessary to fight “bad” populism, the article concludes.
This essay discusses how several institutions might be designed to implement popular constitutionalism within a liberal constitutionalism frame. The institutions are (1) forms of direct popular legislation such as referendums, (2) imperative mandates or instructions to representatives that the representatives must follow, sanctioned by automatically removing a noncompliant representative from office, and (3) modern communications technologies used to elicit citizen views as an alternative to voting (or polling). As to referendums, it critiques arguments (1) that referendums can oversimplify complex policy options in ways that sometimes produce outcomes that are indefensible in principle, incoherent, and inconsistent with what the people would prefer after the kind of deliberation that occurs in representative assemblies, and (2) that referendums systematically, though not inevitably, threaten rights of minorities that liberal constitutionalism guarantees. As to imperative mandates, it argues that objections track those to referendums, and offers parallel responses. And as to modern communications technologies, it focuses on such concerns that they fail to take advantage of specialized knowledge, and argues that overestimate the degree to which specialists actually have specialized knowledge and underestimate the degree to which such knowledge is available within a population of ordinary people and observes that sometimes domains in which specialized knowledge really is required can be identified in advance and exempted from these mechanisms.
In recent years, legal and political doctrinaires have been confusing the democratic crisis that is affecting most of our countries with a mere crisis of constitutionalism (i.e., a crisis in the way our system of “checks and balances” works). Expectedly, the result of this “diagnostic error” is that legal and political doctrinaires began to propose the wrong remedies for the democratic crisis. Usually, they began advocating for the “restoration” of the old system of “internal controls” or “checks and balances”, without paying attention to the democratic aspects of the crisis that would require, instead, the strengthening of “popular” controls and participatory mechanisms that favored the gradual emergence of a “conversation among equals”. In this work, I focus my attention on certain institutional alternatives - citizens’ assemblies and the like- that may help us overcome the present democratic crisis. In particular, I examine the recent practice of citizens’ assemblies and evaluate their functioning.
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