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Book Review


Jocelyn Stacey’s The Constitution of the Environmental Emergency is a unique text in the area of environmental law. It argues for reframing environmental law from the premise that environmental issues confront lawmakers as emergencies that are impossible to reliably predict. Stacey relies on a constructive tension between two somewhat overlapping theories of legitimate government action: common law constitutionalism and deliberative democracy. When Stacey argues that environmental issues constitute emergencies, she shows how lawmakers are confronted with problems that entail “deep uncertainty where the possibility of a catastrophe cannot be reliably eliminated in advance.” This approach allows her to draw on insights from scholarship on emergencies and the rule of law to reimagine the purpose and orientation of environmental law, namely the centrality of having government institutions publicly justify important decisions.

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