Constitutional dialogue and the dialogic constitution (or: Constitutionalism as culture of dialogue)

25 January 2013

A constitution speaks. So my experience as theoretician of constitutional interpretation has taught me. Constitution-speak is not a monologue, not a monolithic soliloquy, with the supreme Constitution simply speaking for and on behalf of itself. Nor is it ventriloquial power-speak for and on behalf of powers that be. A Constitution's voice can, most clearly and credibly, be discerned in dialogue and, more precisely, in a virtually inestimable plurality of dialogic events in the life of a nation, but increasingly in our global experience too. I wish to identify and briefly describe some of these events, conceiving (with Peter Häberle) of the Constitution as an öffentlicher (ie open and public) Prozeß, and relying on a perception (and conception) of 'dialogue' capable of development and enrichment in dialogue with interdisciplinary and intercultural interlocutors.