Res Publica

, 17:355 | Cite as

The Normative Paradigm of Constitutional Democracy

  • Luigi FerrajoliEmail author


This piece criticizes traditional formal and procedural conceptions of democracy, which fail to account for the development of contemporary constitutional democracy. The latter is characterized by a substantive dimension with respect to the content of the decisions taken through the democratic process. The validity of such decision is conditioned by the respect and actualization of fundamental rights, which are established by the constitution. The limits and constraints established by the constitution require juridical science to play a critical and programmatic role vis-à-vis the ‘unlawful’ exercise of public powers, when these enter in contrast with the limits imposed by the constitution.


Constitutional democracy Fundamental rights Unlawful law Deontic logic Juridical science 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facoltà di GiurisprudenzaUniversità Roma IIIRomeItaly

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