Liberal virtues constitutional community

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Liberal constitutionalism embodies an aspiration to public moral justification. The practice of liberal politics, on this view, is bound up with an ongoing effort to justify our political arrangements to one another, an effort that must not be collapsed into the mere affirmation of community standards or conventions. This ideal of public justification lends support to judicial review, an institution that helps make constitutional government a publicly principled enterprise. But it also suggests the value of drawing the “political” branches into the interpretive project: the Supreme Court is not the final interpreter of our Constitution's liberal public morality. The “political” branches of the national government, and citizens themselves play a crucial role in the interpretive process. Viewed in this way, the theory and practice of constitutionalism embody ideals of virtue, citizenship, and community that add up to positive rejoinders to liberalism's communitarian and republican critics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-240
Number of pages26
JournalReview of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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