“Reasonableness” and Value Pluralism in Law and Politics
Title: “Reasonableness” and Value Pluralism in Law and Politics
Author: SADURSKI, Wojciech
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Report no.: EUI LAW; 2008/13
In law, the category of reasonableness, when used in a “strong sense”, is inherently lied up with proportionality, and also with the test of necessity, and thus is a guarantee of a minimal restriction of constitutional rights compatible with the attainment of a given purpose. This approach to the scrutiny of restrictions of constitutional rights carries certain disadvantages because of an unfortunate alignment of the judicial role with the role of legislator, but it also has some great advantages when compared with alternative approaches: it is more transparent when it comes to revealing to the public all the ingredients of the judicial calculus, and most importantly, it reduces the sense of defeat for the losing party. As such, it is consensus-oriented because it acknowledges explicitly that there are valid constitutional arguments on both sides. In turn in political philosophy the notion of reasonableness applies to the determination of the standards of justifications for authoritative decisions so that they can be considered legitimate, i.e. calling for respect even from those subjected to them who do not agree with them on merits. The attractiveness of this idea results from the fact that it combines two enormously popular traditions in democratic theory: those of social contract and of deliberative democracy. So it can be seen that both these conceptions: reasonableness in law and reasonableness in political theory have some obvious commonalities at the level of their deep justifications; both appeal to liberal, egalitarian and consensus-oriented values.
Subject: Legitimacy; fundamental (human) rights; judicial review
Type of Access: openAccess