Zeitschrift für öffentliches Recht

Heft 2, Juni 2021, Band 76

Hwang, Shu-​Perng

Ist die Grundnorm demokratisch?Is the Basic Norm Democratic?

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It has been repeatedly asserted that Hans Kelsen’s theory of the basic norm is isolated from his democratic theory. Accordingly, it is widely accepted that the basic norm is neutral or even indifferent to democracy. Against this background, this article tries to explore Kelsen’s understanding of the basic norm in light of his democratic theory so as to show that the presupposition of the basic norm is closely related to the idea of democracy. As is argued in this article, as a functional surrogate of the classic constituent power, the basic norm serves to overcome the myth that the validity of a democratic constitution must be justified through referring to a real-psychological will, especially to the will of the people. In this way, the basic norm contributes to the realization of a worldview that is characteristic of relativism and objectivism. Moreover, the democratic significance of the basic norm also lies in the fact that, unlike the traditional theory of the constituent power, Kelsen’s legal theory construes the basic norm as a fiction in the sense of Hans Vaihinger’s. Precisely with its fictive character, the basic norm makes clear that, for a well-functioning democracy, what is crucial is not to refer to the will of the people as an absolute and unchallengeable authority, but rather to focus on the lawmaking process itself and thereby to ensure the possibility of compromise between people with conflicting interests. Viewed this way, the basic norm is democracy-oriented particularly because it contributes to the multiple realization of individual freedom.

  • Hwang, Shu-Perng
  • ZOER 2021, 501
  • Volkssouveränität
  • Reine Rechtslehre
  • Naturrecht
  • Öffentliches Recht
  • Gewalt, verfassungsgebende
  • Hypothese
  • Volkswille
  • Wertrelativismus
  • Grundnorm
  • Fiktion
  • Vaihinger, Hans
  • Kelsen, Hans
  • Demokratie

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