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2012

Constitutional Law, Generally

Judges

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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 ...