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Constitutionalist and journalist Olivier Duhamel, in 2016.
Constitutionalist and journalist Olivier Duhamel, in 2016. STÉPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

In 1977 is born the magazine Powers, founded by two teachers who found "Skimpy" or "Esoteric" the old institutional journals of law and political science. One of them is Olivier Duhamel and is 26 years old. Still a master assistant, he has none the less the forelock to challenge and some all-powerful spades. A little earlier, the venerable RDP (Public Law Review) refused him an article on the evolution of institutions in Portugal after the "carnation revolution", and the rejected author said that it was urgent to create other, more open spaces, more in touch with the news too. When the first issue of Powers, therefore, all his relatives congratulate him. Finally, all but one, and not just any: "My father was more skeptical, recalls Duhamel. He told me : "You're wrong title, you should have called your review Antithesis, because it is your last invention not to write your thesis." My father died two months later, I started my thesis … "

Jacques, this father so demanding

This memory, the specialist of constitutional law evokes in the room which takes place for him Parisian pied-à-terre, since he invested the family home of Sanary-sur-Mer, not far from Toulon, in 2012. On the walls of the studio on the ground floor, through the cloud of Davidoff cigarettes, we can see four faces, two women and two men who carried Olivier Duhamel: his last wife, the specialist of political ideas Evelyne Pisier, disappeared two years ago; his mother, Colette, director of the Round Table editions in the early 1950s; Georges Vedel (1910-2002), a tutelary figure in public law, to whom he "Must everything" from the point of view of his academic career; and finally Jacques, this demanding father, a former resistance and faithful servant of the state, a close adviser to Edgar Faure under the IVe Republic, long time deputy of Jura, twice minister under Pompidou.

For the rest, the decor is quite austere: a bed, a table, chairs, some law books, a radio, a pile of CDs and, on the ground, a pouf vainly intended for the turbulent little bitch called O ("With a circumflex accent! "), a Cavalier King Charles whose vocation seems to be to authenticate the liberal spirit of his master: during all the interview intended to nourish the present page, while O was working to nibble the calves of the interviewer, Duhamel persisted in postponing the heavy penalty which he threatened (a temporary exile in the garden). Between three oddly mega barks and two reminders to the order never followed effect ("But leave our friend alone, lie down, go, lie down! " or "No, no, no, I said no, you stop, huh? "), it was therefore natural to evoke the great subject of our host: freedom.

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