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Basic Social Rights, Constitutional Justice, and Democracy

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The theory of rights is crucial as a means of relieving the tension between basic rights and democracy, and as a means of resolving the problem of allocating competence between the constitutional court and the legislature. To some theorists, no tension between basic rights and democracy exists, for the latter presupposes the former. To others, among whom I include myself, tension does exist, for basic rights, in lending protection to certain persons and groups, limit the possibilities of political decision. In this connection it is important to take up the problem of the necessary conditions for realizing basic rights. One of these conditions concerns the delimiting of the scope of institutional action that is found, so to speak, in the space between the constitutional justices and the legislature, the latter as representative of the popular will.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9337.00229

Affiliations: National University of Colombia

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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