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Ian C Bartrum

Modalities

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The Modalities Of Constitutional Argument: A Primer, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2012

The Modalities Of Constitutional Argument: A Primer, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This piece is a contribution to Linda Edwards upcoming book Readings In Persuasion: Briefs That Changed the World (forthcoming Wolters Kluwer). In it I offer a short primer on the modalities of constitutional argument, as Philip Bobbitt has described them. As someone who teaches Constitutional Law with the primary goal of educating future practitioners, I have always brought Bobbitt’s very practical (while also very theoretical) work into my classroom discussions. I have regularly used the first chapter of Bobbitt’s Constitutional Interpretation as introductory text on the subject, but I have sometimes found the reading to be too long ...


Constitutional Value Judgments And Interpretive Theory Choice, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2012

Constitutional Value Judgments And Interpretive Theory Choice, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

Philip Bobbitt’s remarkable work describing the ‘modalities’ of constitutional argument is an immense contribution to the study of constitutional law. He describes a typology of six forms of argument alive in our interpretive practice, and offers a limited account of how these modalities interact, and sometimes conflict, in actual constitutional decisions. One of the persistent puzzles Bobbitt’s description leaves open, however, is how we should account for the choice between conflicting modalities in cases where that choice is likely outcome-determinative. Because the modalities are ‘incommensurable’—a term’s meaning in one modality may not be fully translatable into ...