Keywords: dualist democracy, separation of powers, constitutional meaning
This article examines the normative value of the notion of dualist democracy as proposed by Bruce Ackerman. It suggests that in order to understand Ackerman's conception of dualist democracy it is necessary to focus on the relationship between representation and separation of powers. In American constitutionalism, the people are represented through the separation of powers. This implies that a constitutional transformation can only occur when a political movement has gained a thoughtful popular consensus over time and in all the branches of government. The legitimacy of such a transformation depends neither on text nor on constituent power, but on the quality of collective deliberation. This article, however, argues that the interpretive method Ackerman infers from the idea of dualist democracy depicts constitutional meaning in a way which is at odds with the dynamic character of constitutional transformations.