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Locating Authority In Law, And Avoiding The Authoritarianism Of 'Textualism', Patrick Mckinley Brennan Oct 2007

Locating Authority In Law, And Avoiding The Authoritarianism Of 'Textualism', Patrick Mckinley Brennan

Working Paper Series

Much modern jurisprudence attempts to move the locus of authority away from people with authority in order to locate it instead, for example, in rules or texts. This article argues that authority, wherever it exists, is a quality of the actions of persons. The article mounts this argument by showing how Justice Scalia's textualism is the legal analogue of a largely discredited form of "Christian positivism," one that leads to a form of authoritarianism. The article goes on to argue that authorianism can be avoided only by individuals' and their communities' becoming authoritative, including in the making and enforcement ...