Strategies of Justification in Resolving Conflicts of Values and Interests. A Comparative Analysis of Constitutional Argumentation in Cases of Animal Sacrifice


  • Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski



justification, constitutional argumentation, animal sacrifice, values, incompletely theorized agreement, pragmatic argumentation, value hierarchies


Understood as reasons and rationale given by courts in rendering their decisions (DiMatteo 2015; Gudowski 2015), justification is of great importance when resolving morally sensitive issues. In such cases, judges are tasked with finding solutions to fundamental conflicts of incommensurable constitutional principles, which are inherently open-ended, general and in need of interpretation. Constitutional courts rely on different models of constitutional review depending on a given legal system and culture. However, their overarching goal is to consider ways of resolving conflicts and their justifications arising from a clash between constitutionally protected rights and interests and other values deemed worthy of protection by legislatures. The question addressed in this paper is how a constitutional court can resolve conflicts and communicate motives behind its decision in morally sensitive issues and how evaluative language is instrumental in achieving this strategic goal. Two cases are compared in which judges resolve a conflict between freedom to exercise religion and the animal welfare. In Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of animal sacrifice for religious purposes. In Poland, the Constitutional Tribunal in its decision (K52/13) ruled for the admissibility of ritual slaughter. Adopting the methodology of Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS), this paper demonstrates that while the argumentation in the Polish decision is heavily axiological, with Polish judges using value-based language to engage in fundamental values and principles, the US Supreme Court judges avoid broad, abstract reasoning by resting the argumentation on low-level and medium-level principles (Sunstein 2018) translated into concrete rules and standards.


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How to Cite

Goźdź-Roszkowski, S. (2023). Strategies of Justification in Resolving Conflicts of Values and Interests. A Comparative Analysis of Constitutional Argumentation in Cases of Animal Sacrifice. HERMES - Journal of Language and Communication in Business, (63), 5–17.



THEMATIC SECTION: Evaluation, argumentation and narrative(s) in conflicting contexts