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·当代自由主义的基本特征
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·中国争人权、言论表达自由权的先驱者与英雄名录
·中国政治言论自由的真实现状-我的亲身经历(英文)
·郭国汀论政治言论自由:限制与煽动罪(英文)
·郭国汀论出版自由——声援支持《民间》及主编翟明磊
·郭国汀 美國言論自由发展簡史 [1]
·美国的学述自由:Academic Freedom in the USA
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·中共倒行逆施,严控国际媒体报导中国新闻
·关于思想自由与中律网友的对话 /南郭
·性、言论自由、自由战士
·性、言论自由,自由战士与中律网友们的讨论/南郭
·自由之我见
·不自由勿宁死!
·自由万岁!----我为“新青年学会四君子”及“不锈钢老鼠”辩护
·真正的民主自由政体是中国唯一的选择
·自由万岁!新年好!
·三论思想自由
·为自由而战,为正义事业献身,死得其所无尚光荣
·言论自由受到了严重威胁
·思想自由的哲学基础/郭国汀
·冲破精神思想的牢狱--自由要义/郭国汀
·我们为什么要争言论自由权?/南郭
***(38)思想自由与宗教信仰自由
·郭国汀论宗教信仰
·神学与哲学的异同
·宗教的思索
·爱因斯坦信犹太教和贵格教也信上帝
·信神是愚昧吗?!基督教义反人性吗?!谁在大规模屠杀婴儿?!
·爱因斯坦宗教信仰上帝相关言论选译
·爱因斯坦宗教上帝相关言论第二集
· 爱因斯坦原信的准确译法
·大哲大师大思想家大政治家论宗教上帝
·哲学家的前提与基础
·宗教是统治阶级麻醉人民的鸦片吗?
·为什么说爱才是宇宙的本质?
·宗教起源的根源何在?
·圣父圣子圣灵三位一体论的由来
·人民圣殿教真相
·质疑东海一枭良知大法兼驳良知宇宙本体论
·自然科学与宗教哲学灵魂
·读东海兄批判美国神话有感
·郭国汀为上帝信仰辩护
·驳东海之糊涂上帝观
·四海之内皆兄弟人类本是一家人
·推荐陈尔晋先生之《圣灵福音》
·质疑东海君之《良知大法》
·祝愿祖国早日实现真正的自由!
·关于司法公正的讨论郭国汀律师在北大法律信息网上发表了非常危险的错误观点应该予以驳斥!
·中共当局封杀言论为那般?
·六四的记忆
·谈中华文化与道德重建(四)
·中国百年最伟大的文字!
·郭国汀:为刘荻女英雄辩护吾当仁不让!
·只有思想言论出版新闻舆论的真正自由能够救中国!
·只有说真话的民族才有前途
·一个能思想的人才是力量无边的人/南郭
·思想之可贵在于其独立性
·独立思想是最美的
·思想的高度统一是人类社会之大敌
·统一思想之谬误由来已久矣/南郭
·我的心里话--有感于杜导斌先生被捕
***中共专制暴政政治迫害郭国汀律师实录
·郭国汀律师遭遇黑色元宵节
·中共对我的八次政治迫害--在温哥华告别恐惧讨共诉苦座谈会上的发言(上)
·中共暴政对我的八次政治迫害(中)
·中共暴政对我的八次政治迫害(下)
·If You Really Want Control Lock up Their Lawyers
·Anti-communist sentiments landed Chinese lawyer in an asylum
·我的思想认识与保证/郭国汀
·郭国汀律师的[悔罪][悔过]与[乞求]
·郭国汀因言论“违宪”行政处罚听证案代理词
·我推崇的浦志强大律师/郭国汀
·我被中共当局非法剥夺执业资格的真实原因
***(24)《共产主义黑皮书》郭国汀编译
·共产党皆变成杀人犯罪团伙的历史与理论分析
·朝鲜的罪恶与恐怖和秘密:共产党暴政罪恶批判系列之一
·古巴共产极权政权的罪恶:共产党暴政罪恶批判之二
·越南共产党暴政罪恶昭彰:共产党极权暴政罪恶实录之三
·中欧和东南欧共产党暴政的深重罪孽: 共产党极权暴政罪恶批判之四
·埃塞俄比亚共产党政权的罪孽: 共产党政权罪恶实录之五
·安哥拉和莫桑比克共产党政权的血腥暴力:共产党政权罪恶实录之六
·阿富汉共产党暴政罪大恶极:共产党极权暴政罪恶实录之七
·尼加拉瓜共产党政权的罪孽:共产党暴政罪恶实录之八
·秘鲁共产党的血腥残暴:共产党暴政罪恶实录之九
·虐杀成性的柬普寨共产党暴政:共产党暴政罪恶实录评论系列之十
·波兰共产党政权的罪孽:共产党暴政罪恶实录系列评论之十一
·苏联共产党暴政的滔天罪行:共产党暴政罪恶实录系列评论之十二
·中国共产党极权流氓暴政的滔天罪孽:共产党暴政罪恶实录系列评论之十三
·论共产党极权暴政的归宿-- 2010年全球支持中國和亞洲民主化斯特拉斯堡大會专稿
·金正日真面目
·韩战真相
***(25)《苏联东欧天鹅绒革命》郭国汀编译
·东欧天鹅绒革命导论
·苏联政治民主革命:共产党国极权暴政崩溃原因分析系列评论之一
·罗马尼亚暴力革命:共产党国极权暴政崩溃原因分析系列评论之二
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Philosophy Constitutionalism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Constitutionalism
   Constitutionalism is the idea, often associated with the political theories of John Locke and the "founders" of the American republic, that government can and should be legally limited in its powers, and that its authority depends on its observing these limitations. This idea brings with it a host of vexing questions of interest not only to legal scholars, but to anyone keen to explore the legal and philosophical foundations of the state. How can a government be legally limited if law is the creation of government? Does this mean that a government can be "self-limiting," or is there some way of avoiding this implication? If meaningful limitation is to be possible, must constitutional constraints be somehow "entrenched"? Must they be enshrined in written rules? If so, how are they to be interpreted? In terms of literal meaning or the intentions of their authors, or in terms of the, possibly ever-changing, values they express? How one answers these questions depends crucially on how one conceives the nature, identity and authority of constitutions. Does a constitution establish a stable framework for the exercise of public power which is in some way fixed by factors like the original meaning or intentions? Or is it a "living tree" which grows and develops in tandem with changing political values and principles? These and other such questions are explored below.
   1. Constitutionalism: a Minimal and a Rich Sense
   2. Sovereign versus Government
   3. Entrenchment

   4. "Writtenness"
   5. Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers
   6. Constitutional Law versus Constitutional Convention
   7. Constitutional Interpretation and Constitutional Theories
   8. The Fixed View and the Living Tree
   9. Textualism: The Meaning of a Constitution’s Text
   10. Originalism
   11. Hypothetical Intent Theory
   12. Dworkin: Moral Theory
   13. Critical Theory
   Bibliography
   Other Internet Resources
   Related Entries
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   1. Constitutionalism: a Minimal and a Rich Sense
   In some minimal sense of the term, a "constitution" consists of a set of rules or norms creating, structuring and defining the limits of, government power or authority. Understood in this way, all states have constitutions and all states are constitutional states. Anything recognizable as a state must have some acknowledged means of constituting and specifying the limits (or lack thereof) placed upon the three basic forms of government power: legislative power (making new laws), executive power (implementing laws) and judicial power (adjudicating disputes under laws). Take the extreme case of an absolute monarch, Rex, who combines unlimited power in all three domains. If it is widely acknowledged that Rex has these powers, as well as the authority to exercise them at his pleasure, then the constitution of this state could be said to contain only one rule, which grants unlimited power to Rex. He is not legally answerable for the wisdom or morality of his decrees, nor is he bound by procedures, or any other kinds of limitations or requirements, in exercising his powers. Whatever he decrees is constitutionally valid.
   When scholars talk of constitutionalism, however, they normally mean something that rules out Rex’s case. They mean not only that there are rules creating legislative, executive and judicial powers, but that these rules impose limits on those powers.[1] Often these limitations are in the form of individual or group rights against government, rights to things like free expression, association, equality and due process of law. But constitutional limits come in a variety of forms. They can concern such things as the scope of authority (e.g. in a federal system, provincial or state governments may have authority over health care and education while the federal government’s jurisdiction extends to national defence and transportation); the mechanisms used in exercising the relevant power (e.g. procedural requirements governing the form and manner of legislation); and of course civil rights (e.g. in a Charter or Bill of Rights). Constitutionalism in this richer sense of the term is the idea that government can/should be limited in its powers and that its authority depends on its observing these limitations. In this richer sense of the term, there is no "constitution" in Rex’s society because the rules defining his authority impose no such limits. Compare a second state in which Regina has all the powers possessed by Rex except that she lacks authority to legislate on matters concerning religion. Suppose further that Regina also lacks authority to implement, or to adjudicate on the basis of, any law which exceeds the scope of her legislative competence. We have here the seeds of constitutionalism as that notion has come to be understood in Western legal thought.
   In discussing the history and nature of constitutionalism, a comparison is often drawn between Thomas Hobbes and John Locke who are thought to have defended, respectively, the notion of a constitutionally unlimited sovereign (e.g. Rex) versus that of a sovereign limited by the terms of a social contract containing substantive limitations on her authority (e.g. Regina).[2] But an equally good focal point is the English legal theorist John Austin who, like Hobbes, thought that the very notion of limited sovereignty is incoherent. For Austin, all law is the command of a sovereign, and so the notion that the sovereign could be limited by law requires a sovereign who is self-binding, who commands him/her/itself. But no one can "command" himself, except in some figurative sense, so the notion of limited sovereignty is, for Austin (and Hobbes), as incoherent as the idea of a square circle.[3] Though this feature of Austin’s theory has some plausibility when applied to the British Parliamentary system, where Parliament is often said to be "supreme" and constitutionally unlimited,[4] it faces serious difficulty when applied to most other constitutional democracies such as one finds in the United States and Germany, where it is clear that the powers of government are legally limited by a constitution. Austin’s answer was to say that sovereignty may lie with the people, or some other person or body whose authority is unlimited. Government bodies -- e.g. Parliament or the judiciary -- can be limited by constitutional law, but the sovereign -- i.e. "the people" -- remains unlimited. Whether this provides Austin with an adequate means of dealing with constitutional democracies is highly questionable. For Austin’s sovereign is a determinate individual or group of individuals whose commands to others constitute law. But if we identify the commanders with "the people", then we have the paradoxical result identified by H.L.A. Hart -- the commanders are commanding the commanders. In short, we lapse into incoherence.[5]
   2. Sovereign versus Government
   Though there are serious difficulties inherent in Austin’s attempt to make sense of "the people’s sovereignty," his account does bring out the need to distinguish between two different concepts: sovereignty and government. Roughly speaking, we might define "sovereignty" as the possession of supreme (and possibly unlimited) power and authority over some domain, and "government" as those persons or bodies through whom sovereignty is exercised. Once some such distinction is drawn, we see immediately that sovereignty might lie somewhere other than with the government. And once this implication is accepted, we can coherently go on to speak of limited government coupled with unlimited sovereignty. Arguably this is what one should say about constitutional democracies where the people’s sovereignty is thought to be unlimited but the government’s power is constitutionally limited. As Locke held, unlimited sovereignty remains with the people who have the normative power to void the authority of their government (or some part thereof) if it exceeds its constitutional limitations.
   Though sovereignty and government are different notions, it does seem possible for them to apply to the same individual or body. It is arguable that Hobbes insisted on the identification of sovereign and government insofar as he seemed to require a (virtually) complete transfer of all rights and powers from sovereign individuals to a political sovereign whose authority was to be absolute, thus rendering it possible to emerge from the wretched state of nature in which life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."[6] In Hobbes’ theory, supreme sovereignty must reside in the supreme governmental person or body who enjoys unlimited power and authority to rule the commonwealth. Anything less than unlimited government would, given human nature and the world we inhabit, destroy the very possibility of stable government. So even if "sovereignty" and "government" are different notions, this neither means nor implies that the two could not apply to one and the same individual(s).

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