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The Constitution of EqualityDemocratic Authority and Its Limits$
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Thomas Christiano

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198297475.001.0001

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The Limits to Democratic Authority

The Limits to Democratic Authority

(p.260) 7 The Limits to Democratic Authority
The Constitution of Equality

Thomas Christiano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter gives an account of the limits to democratic authority that is grounded in the same principle of public equality that grounds the authority of democracy. It explains what is meant by a limit to democratic authority. It shows how the basic democratic and liberal rights provide limits to the authority of the democratic assembly. It argues that the provision of an economic minimum is necessary to public equality, and that therefore a democratic assembly that does not do what it can to provide this thereby weakens its own authority. It shows how the principle of public equality can provide guidance as to when institutions of constitutional limits on government and judicial review can be justified and when not. It shows how the conception of democracy as grounded in public equality implies that a democratic assembly that generates permanent minorities has its authority weakened, and thus provides some support for limited self-determination of minorities.

Keywords:   constitutionalism, democracy, economic minimum, judicial review, permanent minorities, public equality, self-determination

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