By Abner S. Greene
Do electorate of a state resembling the U.S. have an ethical responsibility to obey the legislations? Do officers, while examining the structure, have a duty to keep on with what that textual content intended while ratified? To persist with precedent? To stick with what the best court docket this day says the structure means?
These are questions of political legal responsibility (for voters) and interpretive legal responsibility (for a person studying the structure, usually officials). Abner Greene argues that such responsibilities don't exist. even if voters may still obey a few legislation solely, and different legislation in a few circumstances, not anyone has positioned forth a winning argument that voters should still obey all legislation for all time. Greene’s case is not just “against” legal responsibility. it's also “for” an method he calls “permeable sovereignty”: all of our norms are on equivalent footing with the state’s legislation. for that reason, the country may still accommodate non secular, philosophical, kin, or tribal norms every time possible.
Greene indicates that questions of interpretive legal responsibility percentage many features with these of political legal responsibility. In rejecting the view that constitutional interpreters needs to stick to both past or larger assets of constitutional that means, Greene confronts and turns apart arguments just like these provided for an ethical accountability of electorate to obey the legislation.
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Extra resources for Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy
But the state’s law forbids physician-assisted suicide. , there would be too great a risk of error, of patients’ dying under pressure from others, of patients’ making decisions without possessing full mental faculties, etc. Just as the state considered reasons that would apply to the most sympathetic individual cases, 31 A G A I N S T O B L I G A T I O N so should the individuals involved—here the dying man, his family, and his physician—consider the systemic costs pointed out by the state. There is a right answer to the question from the standpoint of justice (although as always it may be difficult to locate)—either the law should be general and proscribe physician-assisted suicide or it should not exist at all or it should exist but permit exceptions under stated circumstances.
17 There is a second conceptual problem. Why should consent be valid beyond any specific authorized order or law? Why, that is, should we accept a “blank check” consent, which might extend horizontally over many not fully specified issues at once, or vertically over time? We have now traveled far from a paradigm case. That is, if we accept as a paradigm case of 37 A G A I N S T O B L I G A T I O N consent my agreeing to allow a particular person to take a particular action involving me—say, I let a barber cut my hair—and if we then extend this to a group of people unanimously ceding their separate desires to take a collective action (say, all agreeing to pay $X to acquire a piece of common property), it is a more complex extension to allow consent to whatever a majority of representatives wants now or in the future.
It is unclear whether “general will” refers to every product of a majority vote or to the ideal true law the majority is seeking/interpreting. However we resolve the vagaries of that conception, the entire argument founders on the necessity for, and unlikelihood of, initial unanimous consent. 17 There is a second conceptual problem. Why should consent be valid beyond any specific authorized order or law? Why, that is, should we accept a “blank check” consent, which might extend horizontally over many not fully specified issues at once, or vertically over time?
Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy by Abner S. Greene