Sunday, July 13, 2008

Moore on Sir Thomas More's Final Years: Silence, Silencing and Constitutional Change

Sir Thomas More's Final Years: Silence, Silencing, and Constitutional Change is a new article by Oliver Moore, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada. It appears in Law and Humanities (2008). Here's the abstract:

Through an examination of Sir Thomas More's final years, culminating with his trial on charges of treason, and with particular attention to the theme of silence, this article studies the profound constitutional amendment which attended the English Reformation. More is remarkable not only for having opposed Henry VIII's procurement of this amendment, but particularly for having expressed his dissidence through a principled silence, thereby refusing to express either support for, or censure of, the king. The author begins by arguing that this silence expressed a precise anti-Reformation argument of constitutional law. The author then turns to More's trial and, holding that it constituted the forum within which the new, post-Reformation, English constitution was founded, argues that the precise mode of the new constitution's founding was the silencing of the old legal order by the new.