Filling the Vacancy left by Scalia: The Democratic Virtues of Delay

With the death of Antonin Scalia, a vacancy of considerable political import for the future direction of the court has opened up. The quick-minded and rhetorically gifted conservative judge not only often provided a critical 5:4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, he is also widely regarded as the intellectual leader of the conservative side of the legal establishment. With Presidential elections coming up later this year and the primaries in full swing, it has already become obvious, that appointing Scalia’s successor will not be an ordinary appointment process. Continue reading

Krise, Kritik und Globaler Konstitutionalismus: Ein Workshop-Bericht

Globaler Konstitutionalismus ist etwas für Optimisten. Dass politische Macht in der globalisierten Welt sich der Herrschaft des Rechts, der Demokratie und den Menschenrechten unterwirft, ist nichts, was sich rein faktenorientiert an irgendwelchen Messinstrumenten ablesen ließe – noch viel weniger, dass sie sich diesen konstitutionellen Grundprinzipien auch auf globaler Ebene unterwerfen sollte. Das muss man schon auch glauben wollen, zumal in Zeiten wie diesen, wo sich die Zweifel häufen: Sind diese im Westen entwickelten Verfassungsprinzipien wirklich so universalisierbar, dass sie sich Chinesen, Saudis, Türken und Russen auch dann anempfehlen, wenn diese zunehmend – und zunehmend selbstbewusst – ohne sie zurechtzukommen scheinen? Continue reading

A Matter of Security? Conscientious Objection and State Recognition

Recognition of the right to refuse military service seems at first glance to be inherently paradoxical. Yet over the course of recent decades, with the broadening of democratic discourse, democracies have begun to recognize even opposition to military service on grounds of conscience—whether religious or otherwise. Continue reading

Traits of Authoritarianism in Global Governance

The concept of global governance is commonly associated with the redeeming virtue of a pluralization of political authority beyond the nation state which has gained prominence in the second half of the 20th century. International law is cheered for imposing limits on the otherwise unfettered state voluntarism for which the ‘Westphalian’ state system has been notorious. Continue reading

Reclaiming Human Rights from Globalisation

Whatever the true historical origins and philosophical foundations of human rights, their protection has taken a distinctive form in the modern state legal order and, by extension, the state-centred conception of international law. From the American and French Declarations of the ‘Rights of Man’ to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the main purpose of human rights was to organize and legitimize the social compact between the state and its citizens. Continue reading

“It Is True That Some Divisions Are Harmful to Republics and Some Are Helpful”: On Factions, Parties, and the History of a Controversial Distinction

Partisanship, it is often said, involves efforts to harness political power not for the benefit of one social group among several but for that of the polity as a whole, as this benefit is identified through a particular (but not partial) interpretation of the public good. In this sense partisan practices differ from the activity of factions, although for a very long time the two were assimilated to each other. Continue reading