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Constitutional Law

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University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

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The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith Sep 2004

The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

If there is any single theme that has provided the foundation of modern liberalism and has infused our more specific constitutional commitments to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, that theme is probably “freedom of conscience.” But some observers also perceive a progressive cheapening of conscience– even a sort of degradation. Such criticisms suggest the need for a contemporary rethinking of conscience. When we reverently invoke “conscience,” do we have any idea what we are talking about? Or are we just exploiting a venerable theme for rhetorical purposes without any clear sense of what “conscience” is or why it ...


Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus Sep 2004

Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

“The political liberty of the subject,” said Montesquieu, “is a tranquility of mind arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted as one man needs not be afraid of another.” The liberty of which Montesquieu spoke is directly promoted by apportioning power among political actors in a way that minimizes opportunities for those actors to determine conclusively the reach of their own powers. Montesquieu’s constitution of liberty is the constitution that most plausibly establishes the rule of law. Montesquieu concluded that this constitution ...