The debatable universality of the proportionality test and the wide-scope conception of fundamental rights/A controversa universalidade do teste de proporcionalidade e da concepção ampliada do suporte fático dos direitos fundamentais

João Andrade Neto

Resumo


Whether human rights are universal or not has been the subject of much debate among legal experts, but major controversy has surrounded rights substance, not their structure. Authors discuss whether freedom of belief or gender equality, for example, are ubiquitous, without considering, however, that having a right may mean significantly different things in different legal systems, depending on how rights are structured. This essay addresses the arguable universality of a certain structure of rights; it does so by tackling the worldwide spread of proportionality and the conception of fundamental rights that underlies it in the principles-theory variant. Alexy has formulated a strong thesis on the universality of a certain conception of rights (and principles). He claims that proportionality is conceptually necessary in all minimally developed legal systems because it derives from the very structure of principles (or fundamental rights) and vice-versa.

            This strong thesis contrasts with others that attempt to justify why proportionality is close to becoming a lingua franca in constitutional decision-making. The weak thesis holds that judges ought to have recourse to proportionality because it enhances the effectiveness of fundamental rights. The moderate thesis holds that proportionality may indeed be necessary in a legal system, but only if certain conditions are present there. These conditions are the wide-scope conception of fundamental rights and its equivalent in which respects constitutional principles: the optimization thesis. I assume that there are viable alternatives to them, for not all theorists relate principles to optimization, and in countries like the U.S., which is not an obvious example of an underdeveloped legal system, rights are conceived of narrowly.

            This study posits, firstly, that there is no evidence that proportionality is empirically necessary; secondly, that the weak thesis raises difficult problems of prognosis; and thirdly, that a conceptual necessity, as the one Alexy implies between rights and proportionality, must presuppose a normative necessity, which is contingent on certain premises. As a result, the moderate thesis holds true, and the widespread model of rights endorsed by Alexy is not conceptually necessary everywhere. This essay will contribute for the debates on the universality of legal concepts by shedding light on the important choices members of a legal community and participants in legal discourse have to make when framing or interpreting their constitution.

Key-words: Proportionality. Universality. Principles theory. Optimization thesis. Wide-scope conception of fundamental rights.

 

RESUMO

A suposta universalidade dos direitos humanos tem sido objeto de considerável debate entre juristas, mas grande parte da controvérsia gira em torno do conteúdo, e não da estrutura desses direitos. Autores discutem se a liberdade de consciência ou a igualdade entre os gêneros, por exemplo, são ubíquos, sem, no entanto, considerar que ter um direito pode implicar algo significativamente diferente em diferentes sistemas jurídicos, dependendo de como se estruturam esses direitos. Este ensaio questiona a alegada universalidade de um certo modelo de direitos fundamentais. Foca-se aqui na propagação mundial do teste de proporcionalidade e na concepção de direitos fundamentais que subjaz a ele na versão oferecida pela Teoria dos Princípios. Alexy propõe uma tese forte sobre a universalidade de uma certa concepção de direitos (ou princípios) constitucionais. Ele afirma que a proporcionalidade é conceitualmente necessária em todos os sistemas jurídicos minimamente desenvolvidos porque ela decorre da própria estrutura dos direitos fundamentais concebidos como princípios constitucionais e vice-versa.

Essa tese forte contrasta com outras teses que tentam justificar por que a proporcionalidade está perto de se tornar língua franca entre cortes e tribunais constitucionais. A tese fraca defende que juízes devem recorrer à proporcionalidade porque, ao fazerem-no, eles garantem maior efetividade aos direitos fundamentais. A tese moderada sustenta que a proporcionalidade pode ser realmente necessária em um sistema jurídico, mas desde que certas condições estejam presentes ali. Essas condições são a concepção ampliada do suporte fático dos direitos fundamentais e seu equivalente no que se refere aos princípios constitucionais: a tese da optimização. Supõe-se aqui que haja alternativas viáveis a essas condições, pois nem todos os teóricos do Direito afirmam que princípios são comandos de optimização, e, em países como os EUA, o suporte fático dos direitos constitucionais é concebido de modo consideravelmente reduzido.

Este ensaio propõe: primeiramente, que não existe evidência de que a proporcionalidade é empiricamente necessária; em segundo lugar, que a tese fraca suscita difíceis problemas de prognóstico; e, finalmente, que uma necessidade conceitual, como a que Alexy supõe existir entre a proporcionalidade e os direitos fundamentais, tem que pressupor uma necessidade normativa, cuja validade depende de certas premissas que são contingentes. Isso demonstra que a tese moderada é a correta, e o modelo de direitos endossado por Alexy não é conceitualmente necessário em todos os sistemas jurídicos, apesar do que sugere sua propagação. Assim, este estudo deve contribuir para os debates acerca da universalidade dos conceitos jurídicos ao iluminar as importantes escolhas que os membros de cada comunidade jurídica e participantes do debate jurídico têm diante de si quando encarregados de formular ou interpretar a própria constituição.

Palavras-chave: Proporcionalidade. Universalidade. Teoria dos Princípios. Tese da optimização. Concepção ampliada do suporte fático dos direitos fundamentais.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18256/2238-0604/revistadedireito.v12n1p4-19

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