The Ciceronian and Catonian Methods of Upholding Constitutional Legitimacy
- Brett Fabregas
This article considers two ways in which politicians may upholdthe legitimacy of the constitution when faced with political opponents who wishto act unconstitutionally. One of these ways is the Ciceronian method, whichinvolves using actions which are either legally ambiguous or clearly extralegalto ensure the long-term defense of the constitution’s ability to restrainleaders. The other way is the Catonian method, which involved using strictlylegal means to ensure the constitution’s legitimacy. As the historical examplesof Cato the Younger and Marcus Tullius Cicero demonstrate, both of thesemethods are capable of damaging the legitimacy of the constitution if used improperly.Given that both methods are employed in modern politics, modern politiciansought to be aware of the consequences of using each method.