Fairness, Consensus, and the Justification of the Ideal Liberal Constitution

Philip Cook
2009 Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence  
In Constitutional Goods, Alan Brudner seeks to articulate a novel conception of justice that will inform the content of the ideal liberal constitution. The content and justification of this conception ofjustice are the topics of this paper. The content of this novel conception ofjustice is constituted by what Brudner describes as an inclusive conception of liberalism, and its justification is grounded on an account of public reason that is presented in opposition to that of John Rawls. I argue
more » ... hat we should reject both the content and justification of Brudner's conception ofjustice. Brudner is unable to construct an inclusive conception of liberalism from elements of libertarianism, egalitarianism, and communitarianism, and his account of public reason lacks the properties of fairness and reciprocity that differentiate a reasonable agreement from a modus vivendi. This paper therefore defends a Rawlsian political conception ofjustice and justification from Brudner's criticisms and proposed alternatives.
doi:10.1017/s0841820900004628 fatcat:aye2esvl75hu3i37l3mrq7qi5u