Ronald Dworkin, legal scholar and great liberal thinker, has died
Ronald Dworkin, Legal Philosopher, Dies at 81 By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: February 14, 2013
Ronald Dworkin, a legal philosopher and public intellectual of bracingly liberal views who insisted that morality is the touchstone of constitutional interpretation, died Thursday in London. He was 81.
Professor Dworkin was “the primary legal philosopher of his generation,” said Judge Guido Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School who now sits on the federal appeals court in New York. He was also one of the most closely read as a mainstay of The New York Review of Books, contributing articles to it for decades.
Professor Dworkin’s central argument started with the premise that the crucial phrases in the Constitution — “the freedom of speech,” “due process of law,” “equal protection of the laws” — were, as he put it, “drafted in exceedingly abstract moral language.”
“These clauses,” he continued, “must be understood in the way their language most naturally suggests: they refer to abstract moral principles and incorporate these by reference, as limits on the government’s power.”
1. I'm also afraid that his idea of "substantive due process," rather than procedural, has died here.
Dworkin, like others in his generation, were willing to stretch the limits of rights to a view that a multitude of inherent rights are founded in basic fairness -- rather than limited to expressed rights -- whereas most of the legal theorists (and almost all the jurists) today seem content to settle for "all the process that is due."