The centrality and diversity of the invisible constitution

Patrick Emerton

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A constitution – considered as a visible, written legal text – exists within a broader social and political context. This chapter argues that, to a significant extent, it is this context that gives the constitution and the laws made under it whatever legal force they have; but that this context is not (and cannot be) contained within it. Every constitution, therefore, has a crucial yet invisible aspect.
The argument of the chapter is a philosophical one. Its goal, however, is not purely philosophical. Rather, it is to show that considerations of analytic jurisprudence, and analytic philosophy more generally, suggest a sociological conclusion, namely, that each constitutional order must be its own particular thing, by virtue of its distinctive invisible elements.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Invisible Constitution in Comparative Perspective
EditorsRosalind Dixon, Adrienne Stone
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781108277914
ISBN (Print)9781108417570
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameComparative Constitutional Law and Policy
PublisherCambridge University Press

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