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Desperately Seeking CertaintyThe Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations$
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Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226238081

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226238104.001.0001

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Ronald Dworkin and the City on the Hill

Ronald Dworkin and the City on the Hill

(p.122) Chapter 7 Ronald Dworkin and the City on the Hill
Desperately Seeking Certainty
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the transparency of Ronald Dworkin who seeks to base a grand constitutional interpretation on a foundational moral theory. Much focus is given here on his most fully developed version of his views, as presented in his recent book on constitutional interpretation, Freedom's Law. The essence of the originalist program is to free judges from making controversial moral judgments by casting the choice of principles back to the framers. However, Dworkin suggests that this program rests on a confusion between the two types of meaning, so that the relative determinacy of the framers' specific examples lends a spurious air of certainty to the enterprise. Thus, Dworkin cannot reject the established practice of leaving some issues, which he considers constitutional in nature, at least in part to other branches of government.

Keywords:   Ronald Dworkin, foundational moral theory, Freedom's Law, judges, constitutional interpretation

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