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Representative Legislatures, Grammars of Political Representation, and the Generality of Statutes

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Publication details

JournalRatio Juris. An International Journal in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Jul 2018
DatePublished (current) - 19 Nov 2018
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)444-459
Original languageEnglish


This article explores the claim that representative legislatures should create general legal norms. After distinguishing the requirement that statutes be general from the broader rule-of-law idea that law be general, I concentrate on the French constitutional tradition to argue that the plausibility of the claim turns on the elucidation of a set of social norms and understandings about the proper role of representative legislatures mediating between abstract ideals of the common good and local practices. I call these norms grammars. The article then briefly compares the French “Sieyèsian” with the US “Madisonian” grammar of political representation regarding the issue of the generality of statutes and concludes with a plea for an in-depth comparative investigation into different such grammars.

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