Professor of Political Science:
Phone: +1 401 863 2180
Corey Brettschneider is professor of political science. He has research interests in political theory and public law with emphases in democratic, constitutional, and liberal theory.
COREY BRETTSCHNEIDER is professor of political science at Brown University, where he teaches courses in political theory and public law. He is also professor, by courtesy, of philosophy. Brettschneider was a Rockefeller faculty fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values for the 2010-2011 academic year, a visiting associate professor at Harvard Law School for the 2009 winter term, and a faculty fellow at Harvard's Safra Center for Ethics for the 2006-2007 academic year. Brettschneider received a PhD in politics from Princeton University and a JD from Stanford University. He is the author of When the State Speaks, What Should it Say? How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality, (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Democratic Rights: The Substance of Self-Government (Princeton University Press, 2007). Brettschneider is also the author of a casebook, Constitutional Law and American Democracy: Cases and Readings, (Aspen Publishers/Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, 2011). His articles include "A Transformative Theory of Religious Freedom," in Political Theory (2010), "When the State Speaks, What Should it Say? Democratic Persuasion and the Freedom of Expression," in Perspectives on Politics (2010), and "The Politics of the Personal: A Liberal Approach," in the American Political Science Review (2007).
Link to Publications
When the State Speaks, What Should it Say?
How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality
(Princeton University Press, 2012)
How should a liberal democracy respond to hate groups and others that oppose the ideal of free and equal citizenship? The democratic state faces the hard choice of either protecting the rights of hate groups and allowing their views to spread, or banning their views and violating citizens' rights to freedoms of expression, association, and religion. Avoiding the familiar yet problematic responses to these issues, political theorist Corey Brettschneider proposes a new approach called value democracy. The theory of value democracy argues that the state should protect the right to express illiberal beliefs, but the state should also engage in democratic persuasion when it speaks through its various expressive capacities: publicly criticizing, and giving reasons to reject, hate-based or other discriminatory viewpoints.
Distinguishing between two kinds of state actionexpressive and coerciveBrettschneider contends that public criticism of viewpoints advocating discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation should be pursued through the state's expressive capacities as speaker, educator, and spender. When the state uses its expressive capacities to promote the values of free and equal citizenship, it engages in democratic persuasion. By using democratic persuasion, the state can both respect rights and counter hateful or discriminatory viewpoints. Brettschneider extends this analysis from freedom of expression to the freedoms of religion and association, and he shows that value democracy can uphold the protection of these freedoms while promoting equality for all citizens.
The Substance of Self-Government
(Princeton University Press, 2007)
Democratic Rights on Amazon
When the Supreme Court in 2003 struck down a Texas law prohibiting homosexual sodomy, it cited the right to privacy based on the guarantee of "substantive due process" embodied by the Constitution. But did the court act undemocratically by overriding the rights of the majority of voters in Texas? Scholars often point to such cases as exposing a fundamental tension between the democratic principle of majority rule and the liberal concern to protect individual rights. Democratic Rights challenges this view by showing that, in fact, democracy demands many of these rights.
Corey Brettschneider argues that ideal democracy is comprised of three core values--political autonomy, equality of interests, and reciprocity--with both procedural and substantive implications. These values entitle citizens not only to procedural rights of participation (e.g., electing representatives) but also to substantive rights that a "pure procedural" democracy might not protect. What are often seen as distinctly liberal substantive rights to privacy, property, and welfare can, then, be understood within what Brettschneider terms a "value theory of democracy." Drawing on the work of John Rawls and deliberative democrats such as Jürgen Habermas, he demonstrates that such rights are essential components of--rather than constraints on--an ideal democracy. Thus, while defenders of the democratic ideal rightly seek the power of all to participate, they should also demand the rights that are the substance of self-government.
University Center for Human Values Faculty Fellowship, Princeton University, 2011-2012
Safra Foundation Center for Ethics Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University, 2006-2007
Cogut Center for the Humanities Inaugural Fellowship, Brown University, spring 2006
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Junior Faculty Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2004-2005
Finalist, Barrett Hazeltine Award for Excellence in Teaching, Brown University, spring 2004
The Cornell University Young Scholar Award, Center for Ethics and Public Life, Cornell University, 2003-2004
Nomination, Leo Strauss Award in Political Theory, fall 2002
University Fellowship, Princeton University, 2001-2002
Graduate Prize Fellowship, University Center For Human Values, Princeton University, 2000-2001
University Fellowship, Princeton University, 1999-2000
Downing College Fellowship, Downing College, Cambridge University, 1995-1996
Beckner Prize for Excellence in Philosophy, Pomona College, may 1995
Phi Beta Kappa, Pomona College, may 1995
The American Society for Legal and Political Philosophy (member of the council)
American Political Science Association
Foundations of Political Theory
I have received research fellowships from the Princeton University Center for Human Values, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Brown University Humanities Center, and the Harvard University Center for Ethics.