Revolutionary Constitutionalism: Some Thoughts on Laurie Ackermann's Jurisprudence

TitleRevolutionary Constitutionalism: Some Thoughts on Laurie Ackermann's Jurisprudence
Publication TypeUnpublished
AuthorsBerkowitz, R

This paper looks to Hannah Arendt's thinking about freedom and revolution to shed light on the "revolutionary jurisprudence" of South African Constitutional Court Justice Laurie Ackermann. As Arendt understands it, revolution is the coincidence of the idea of freedom and the experience of a new beginning. Arendt insists that only a government that harbors the revolutionary spirit can secure a stable space for freedom in the modern world. In asking what institutional spaces of exist that might preserve a space of freedom in modern society, Arendt settles upon the Constitution and its institutional Praetorian guard, the Supreme Court. And yet, Arendt argues that the democratic and scientific trends have eroded the Supreme Court's freedom have threatened to eradicate freedom from the American public sphere. The paper looks to Justice Ackermann's jurisprudence as a way to reinvigorate Constitutional jurisprudence as a space for freedom