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Constitutional pluralism: An oxymoron?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2014

MARTIN LOUGHLIN
Affiliation:
London School of Economics, Department of Law, Houghton Street, London WC2 2AE
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Abstract

This article examines the origins of the concept of constitutional pluralism that has emerged in the last decade and it critically assesses the claims of its advocates. It argues that the claims made on behalf of the concept cannot be sustained and seeks to show that constitutional pluralism is an oxymoronic concept.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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References

1 Elliott, WY, The Pragmatic Revolt in Politics: Syndicalism, Fascism and the Corporate State (Macmillan, New York, 1928) 149–50.

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3 See Laski, HJ, Studies in the Problems of Sovereignty (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1917); Laski, HJ, Authority in the Modern State (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1919); Laski, HJ, The Foundations of Sovereignty and Other Essays (Harcourt Brace, New York, 1921).

4 See Laski, Grammar (n 2); also at 80–5, where Laski accepts the need of the state to perform an organizational and co-ordinative role with respect to social groups and to promote the common good.

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8 For a reflexive analysis see Loughlin, M, Foundations of Public Law (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010) esp. chs 3 and 6.

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9 Note e.g. Bodin’s marks of sovereignty: Bodin, J, The Six Bookes of a Commonweale (Knolles, R trans. 1606, McRae, KD (ed) Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1962), Bk I, ch 10. Cf Hobbes, T, Leviathan (Tuck, R (ed), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996), chs 18, 20 (one overarching mark, the authority to make law). Note also the ruling of the Bundesverfassungsgericht in the Lisbon treaty case, which makes a less than convincing foray into the esoteric field of Staatsaufgabenlehre: BVerfG, 2 BvE 2/08 vom 30.6.2009, sections 249–52.

10 R Carré de Malberg, Contribution à la Théorie générale de l’Etat (Dalloz, Paris, 2004 [1922]), vol 2, 24: ‘Il n’y a pas, dans l’Etat, trois pouvoirs, mais bien une puissance unique, qui est sa puissance de domination. Cette puissance se manifeste sous des formes multiples.’ (‘There are not three powers but truly one unique power, which is the power of domination. This power manifests itself under multiple forms.’)

11 N MacCormick, ‘The Maastricht Urteil: Sovereignty Now’ (1995) 1 European Law Journal 259, 265.

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13 See e.g. Paoli, L, Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style (Oxford University Press, New York, 2003) 40.

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14 MacCormick, Questioning Sovereignty (n 12) 109.

15 Note here MacCormick’s acceptance of the point that a constitution is not essentially the formal text (above pt 4).

16 See Loughlin, M, ‘The Concept of Constituent Power’ (2013) 12 European Journal of Political Theory (forthcoming).

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17 MacCormick (n 12) 118.

18 Ibid 119.

19 Ibid 120.

20 Ibid 121.

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22 MacCormick (n 12) 117. See N Walker, ‘Reconciling MacCormick: Constitutional Pluralism and the Unity of Practical Reason’ (2011) 24 Ratio Juris 369–85; N Krisch, ‘Who is Afraid of Radical Pluralism? Legal Order and Political Stability in the Postnational Space’ (2011) 24 Ratio Juris 386–412.

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24 N Walker, ‘The Idea of Constitutional Pluralism’ (2002) 65 Modern Law Review 317–59.

25 Ibid 324–7.

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27 Walker (n 24) 337.

28 Ibid 343–54.

29 Ibid 340.

30 Ibid 336–7: ‘the idea of constitutional pluralism here defended should be distinguished from the various more general “legal pluralisms” which mark our academic landscape’.

31 Ibid 336.

32 Ibid 359.

33 Ibid 359.

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36 See Weiler, JHH, ‘Prologue: Global and Pluralist Constitutionalism – Some Doubts’ in de Búrca, G and Weiler, JHH (eds), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011) 8: ‘Constitutional Pluralism is today the only party membership card which will guarantee a seat at the high table of the public law professoriate.’ For a comprehensive overview of the state of the play with respect to this concept see Avbelj and Komárek (n 35).

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37 Pernice, I, ‘Multilevel Constitutionalism and the Treaty of Amsterdam: European Constitution Making Revisited?’ (1999) 36 Common Market Law Review 703–50.

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38 This is Pernice’s (highly implausible) argument: see Pernice, ibid 710.

39 Kumm’s (equally implausible) ‘paradigm-shift’: see Kumm, M, ‘The Cosmopolitan Turn in Constitutionalism: On the Relationship between Constitutionalism in and beyond the State’ in Dunoff, JL and Trachtman, JP (eds), Ruling the World? Constitutionalism, International Law and Global Governance (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009) 258324.

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40 This amounts to the pursuit of Walker’s innovative claim that constitutionalism is to be treated as a medium to its ultimate point: see text at (n 29).

41 On the state as a scheme of intelligibility, see Loughlin, Foundations (n 8) ch 7.

42 M Loughlin, ‘In Defence of Staatslehre’ (2009) 48 Der Staat 2–27.

43 M Loughlin, ‘Public Law and Its Discontents’, Global and Comparative Public Law Theory Colloquium, NYU, Sept 2011, available at <http://www.law.nyu.edu/academics/colloquia/globalcomparativepubliclaw/index.htm>.

44 M Poiares Maduro, ‘Three Claims of Constitutional Pluralism’ in Avbelj and Komárek (n 35) 67–84, 67, 68.

45 Ibid 70.

46 Ibid 70.

47 Ibid 73. Somek’s question is posed in A Somek, ‘Monism: A Tale of the Undead?’ in Avbelj and Komárek (n 35) 343–79.

48 Maduro (n 44) 75

49 Ibid 75

50 Ibid 76

51 Ibid 76–7.

52 Case C-147/03 (7 July 2005).

53 Maduro (n 44) 77.

54 Case C-438/05 (11 December 2007).

55 Maduro (n 44) 77.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid 77–8.

58 Ibid 78.

59 Ibid.

60 Ibid 78–9.

61 Ibid 79.

62 Ibid 82.

63 Calhoun, C, ‘The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travelers: Toward a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism’ (2002) 101 South Atlantic Quarterly 869–97.

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64 Maduro (n 44) 82.

65 Schmitt, C, The Concept of the Political (Schwab, G trans., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996); de Jouvenel, B, The Pure Theory of Politics (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1963).

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