The present Article proposes, via consideration of a contrast between two classical accounts of dialectical reasoning, that the employment of "public reason," in substantive due process analysis, is unworkable in theory and contrary to more reflective Supreme Court precedent. Part I of this Article raises a number of issues for consideration relating to the epistemology of law and focuses especially on the concept of public reason and its critique. Part II addresses alternative approaches to legal reasoning suggested by classical accounts of practical reasoning and virtue theory and considers the operation of such legal analysis outside the area of substantive due process; Part III analyzes post-Lawrence case law confirming the dilemma created by the Supreme Court's ambiguous approaches to substantive due process and concludes that only one interpretation-that articulated fully in Washington v. Glucksberg and given lip service in Lawrence v. Texas-provides a method for resolving novel substantive due process challenges that is philosophically sound as well as historically coherent. Rather than perpetuating a fiction that denies the propriety of lawmaking unless based on principles that all citizens can rationally agree upon, an appropriate model of substantive due process analysis recognizes that law must inevitably be based upon principles that cannot be agreed upon by all citizens in virtue of rationality alone.
Edward C. Lyons,
Reason's Freedom and the Dialectic of Ordered Liberty
55 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol55/iss2/5