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Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law$
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David Dyzenhaus and Malcolm Thorburn

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754527.001.0001

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Constitutional Reason of State

Constitutional Reason of State

(p.179) 9 Constitutional Reason of State
Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law

Thomas Poole

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the law relating to the prerogative (I), before observing that cases where the power in question is sourced in statute or the constitution are more typical today (II). The long-term historical narrative towards the constitutionalization of reserve powers can thus be expressed as a move from a princely model of reason of state to a polity or law-based model of reason of state (III). The chapter then examines Locke’s analysis of king’s prerogative, Hobbes’s state theory, and republican theorists such as Harrington who exhibit a more recognizably modern concern to normalize reason of state through constitutional and institutional design. The chapter then takes issue with modern liberals who follow Hayek in wanting to remove the concept of reason of state from constitutional politics (IV). The chapter ends with a reflection on the value of the category of reason of state for constitutional theory (V).

Keywords:   reason of state, prerogative, reserve powers, Hobbes, Locke, Harrington, Hayek

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