European Journal of Law Reform

Artikel

Methods and Materials in Constitutional Law

Some Thoughts on Access to Government Information as a Problem for Constitutional Theory and Socio-Legal Studies

Keywords Citizenship, democracy, government information, representative government, secrecy
Authors Barry Sullivan
Author's information

108794 Barry Sullivan
Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
  • Abstract

      To be subject to law, Hobbes argued, is to be deprived of liberty, as we understand it. In this respect, democratic governments are no different from others. Hobbes’s insight has not caused us to abandon our commitments to democracy, but it still challenges us to think hard about the nature of representative government, the nature of citizenship in a democratic society, and the conditions necessary for fulfilling the promise of democratic citizenship. Two recent trends are evident. Some citizens have embraced a more active sense of citizenship, which necessarily entails a more insistent need for information, while governments have insisted on the need for greater concentration of governmental power and a higher degree of secrecy. Much is to be learned from the approaches that various national and transnational regimes have taken with respect to this problem. This essay will consider the problem of access to government information from a comparative perspective and as a problem for constitutional theory and socio-legal studies.

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