Skip to content

Frank I. Michelman, Proportionality Outside the Courts (With Special Reference to Popular and Political Constitutionalism), in Proportionality: New Frontiers, New Challenges 30 (Vicki Jackson & Mark Tushnet eds., 2017).

Abstract: As used in this paper, “proportionality” names a protocol for use in deciding questions of the constitutionality of laws. The protocol is typically understood to consist of a four- or five-step order of decisional march, of which there are multiple close-kindred versions in circulation. Debates about the virtues, vices, and variations of the protocol and its deployment routinely construct the theater of action as a court of law engaged in judicial constitutional review. Adjudicative use of the protocol is what we think of as the central case. An aim of this paper is to achieve some first steps towards figuring out what relevance, if any, the protocol of proportionality might have for “extended” cases (as we may call them) of constitutional discourses outside the courts. I try here to think about the protocol’s pertinence, if any, to political-practice idealizations in which other political actors displace independent judiciaries as sole or final arbiters of constitutional compliance.