sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010


Who is Afraid of the Total Constitution? Constitutional Rights as Principles and the Constitutionalization of Private Law By Mattias Kumm

…First, the idea of an autonomous domain of private law as an integral part of an apolitical state-free sphere had collapsed. The belief in a civil society that organizes itself by means of private law, the content of which is defined by apolitical legal experts, no longer resonated. Private law, too, had become the object of selfconscious, broad-based political struggle. Private law was wrested from the legal priesthood and became a mundane object of regulatory intervention. The 19th century ideas of scholarly mandarins, who conceived of private law in natural law, historicist, or conceptual terms or thought of the code as the authoritative embodiment of legal rationality, were replaced by ideas that private law, too, was subject to political choice. Correspondingly, the regulatory state, featuring a “motorized legislator” and an increasingly powerful executive branch, flexibly responding to whatever the crisis of the moment happens to be, was in full swing. Governments had already enacted competition laws prohibiting cartels and trusts, laws limiting freedom of contract to legislatively determine minimum wages and maximum hours, and more generally legislatively shape the employer-employee relationship. More radical proposals concerning the transformation of the economy were on the table politically. All this occurs in the context of a severe economic crisis and heated ideological disagreement about the basic terms of social cooperation…
Kelsen, on the other hand, develops a theory of legal science committed to eliminating the political (empirical and moral) from its scope to rescue the idea of scholarly detachment. Yet, as Kelsen himself rightly points out,4 the Pure Theory of Law, in all its modernist abstraction and formality, reveals legal practice as political all the way down. It is exactly the formal structure and substantive emptiness of Kelsen’s theory that makes it a potent weapon for exposing the prevalence of politics in legal practice and legal scholarship: If a pure theory of law can say nothing about how a law should be interpreted, then every act of legal interpretation is revealed to be a political act, not a requirement of law.
If in the total state law is conceived as the continuation of politics by other means, under the total constitution politics is conceived as the continuation of law by other means. The constitution serves as a guide and imposes substantive constraints on the resolution of any and every political question… if the politicization of the relationship between private individuals is a feature of the total state, the constitutionalization of that relationship is a defining feature of the total constitution. In a total constitution, constitutional rights not only establish a comprehensive system of defenses of the individual against potential excesses of the state: Instead, a key function of constitutional rights is to provide the basis for claims against public authorities to intervene on behalf of rights-claimants in response to threats from third parties.
What were the interpretative choices that allowed a catalogue of basic rights to develop into a complete normative program to be implemented by the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary under the supervision of the FCC?…
It is true that the liberal commitment to private autonomy implies that individuals may often do things that public authorities may not. The dinner host who excludes flat tax adherents does not violate their right to freedom of expression. But it does not follow that constitutional rights are not appropriately applied to private law and the relationships between private individuals. It merely follows that when applying constitutional rights to the private context the autonomy interests of the other party need to be taken into account when determining the limits of the rights. The fact that A has a right to freedom of speech may imply that the state may not discriminate against him on the basis of the content of his political beliefs, but it does not follow that another individual may not discriminate against him on that basis. In the latter context the right to freedom of speech needs to be balanced against the right of the inviting dinner host to determine freely whom he invites into his house for dinner. Within the context of proportionality analysis the relevant difference in the context of application can be taken into account. Constitutional rights guarantees, as applied to conflicts between private individuals, take into account the principle of private autonomy as a countervailing concern. The task of the FCC engaged in constitutional rights adjudication is to assess whether the decision of a civil law court or by the private law legislator concerning the relationship between individuals did in fact take into account the competing constitutional principles at stake and strike a reasonable balance between them.
Esto significa hacer equiparables los “intereses públicos” que justifican la injerencia en el derecho fundamental tras el juicio de proporcionalidad a los derechos de los particulares frente a los que se alega la infracción del propio derecho fundamental.
Finally, the application of constitutional rights to the private context does not undermine an important point of rights, which is to provide individuals with a private sphere within which they need not be concerned with being held publically accountable. When determining whether an individual has a right to exclude someone from a dinner party because of his political views, the question is not whether his behavior deserves public approval or criticism. The question is not whether he behaved reasonably when excluding people from his dinner party because of their political views. The question asked when balancing competing rights between private individuals is one that concerns the delimitation of respective spheres of autonomy. It is about determining the proper limits of the sphere in which the rights-holder is not accountable to others for what he says or does. An individual does not need to have good reasons not to invite people to his dinner part. In this regard, striking an appropriate balance between competing rights claims leads to the result that he is free to do whatever he likes, and may exclude dinner guests because he is bigotted and intolerant. But in the domain of employment, for example, the competing autonomy interests balance out very differently. An employer can’t generally choose not to employ people whose political views he dislikes. Employment decisions require justifications of a different sort. The rights of the employer are limited by the competing rights of the applicant not to be discriminated against for his political views. This is generally recognized by rules of labor law, which can be reconstructed as having balanced the various competing concerns. The point of constitutional rights is merely to provide the FCC with the possibility to review whether the competing autonomy interests were appropriately taken into account.
El ejemplo del Derecho laboral no está bien traído. Es la Ley la que prohíbe la discriminación en el ámbito laboral.

posner on keynes

The dominant conception of economics today, and one that has guided my own academic work in the economics of law, is that economics is the study of rational choice. People are assumed to make rational decisions across the entire range of human choice, including but not limited to market transactions, by employing a form (usually truncated and informal) of cost-benefit analysis. The older view was that economics is the study of the economy, employing whatever assumptions seem realistic and whatever analytical methods come to hand. Keynes wanted to be realistic about decision-making rather than explore how far an economist could get by assuming that people really do base decisions on some approximation to cost-benefit analysis. (el concepto de racionalidad ecológica de Vernon Smith encaja)

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