Can Constitutional Law Scholars Be Political? A Response to Recent Scepticism

Recent scholarship in constitutional law has raised doubts whether constitutional scholars can be political. A strong scepticism, supported by Komárek, argues for a strict professionalism that sustains that the role obligations of scholars override the norms of ordinary morality , whereas a moderate version, advocated by Khaitan, presents instrumental reasons against academic scholarship that is motivated by an external political goal. In response to strong scepticism, I argue for a ‘unified conception of moral responsibility’, in the sense of Postema, which aims to achieve an integration between ordinary and professional morality. In response to the weak version, I argue that an inquiry into a scholar’s motives is an illegitimate criterion to evaluate an academic work. Following Raz, I conclude that an interpretive approach to academic freedom should reject the idea of a ‘narrow morality’, which is based on a fundamental divide between one’s duties and ethical pursuits.