chapter  Four
16 Pages

Constitutional Limits on Majoritarian Democracy

WithWilliam Nelson

Democrats, by broadening the agendas of individuals to include social goals open the way to bitter and divisive controversy among people who might otherwise find it easier to live and let live, never discussing religion or politics with anyone they don't already agree with. Most people would concede, of course, that the arguments for some basic constitutional requirements are not independent of the arguments for democratic procedures themselves. Acts of expression can disturb sleep, cause offence, lead to riots or lynchings, endanger troops, or provide people bent on terrorism with the means to their end. Like freedom of expression, rights of equal protection run a risk of disabling the legislature from adopting laws or policies that otherwise serve good purposes. The natural constitutional restriction on the power of the legislature, then, is not some form of "substantive due process," but, rather, something like the Equal Protection Clause.