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Constitution

2006

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Democracy's Handmaid, Robert L. Tsai Jan 2006

Democracy's Handmaid, Robert L. Tsai

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Democratic theory presupposes open channels of dialogue, but focuses almost exclusively on matters of institutional design writ large. The philosophy of language explicates linguistic infrastructure, but often avoids exploring the political significance of its findings. In this Article, Tsai draws from the two disciplines to reach new insights about the democracy enhancing qualities of popular constitutional language. Employing examples from the founding era, the struggle for black civil rights, the religious awakening of the last two decades, and the search for gay equality, he presents a model of constitutional dialogue that emphasizes common modalities and mobilized vernacular. According to this ...