Wie sich Autorität rechtfertigt: Expertise und demokratische Mehrheiten haben nur begrenzte normative Kraft

Weit verbreitet ist zurzeit das Argument, liberale Demokratien befänden sich in einer Autoritätskrise. Was aber ist damit gemeint? Ganz grundsätzlich meint eine solche Krise, dass Autoritätsbeziehungen erodieren. Das heißt, autoritative Behauptungen werden von ihren Adressaten nicht mehr als bindend anerkannt. Dies ist der Fall, wenn etablierte Rechtfertigungen des Autoritätsanspruchs versagen oder infrage gestellt werden. Die derzeitige Autoritätskrise kann als eine solche verstanden werden, in zweifacher Hinsicht: als eine Krise der Autorität von Experten und als Krise einer spezifischen Form demokratischer Autorität, Continue reading

Reversing the Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Europe

Constitutional democracy is a system of government in which all powers are exercised under a constitution which grows out and is dedicated to the protection of equal human dignity. The latter requires that each and every individual is recognized an equal right to self-fulfilment within the scope of the same right recognized and exercised by others. By making equal human dignity a point of departure as well as the ultimate objective of its functioning, a polity characterized as a constitutional democracy is necessarily permeated by pluralism. Continue reading

Civil Liberty in Crisis? Evidence from a Comparative Empirical Study

Is there a fundamental trade-off between collective security and individual liberty? This question is by no means a new one for democratic societies. Long before the Islamist terror threat scenarios of the 2000s, Western democracies had been menaced by domestic terrorism, violent separatism, and organized crime and their reaction was always the same: security laws were tightened, new tools for keeping citizens under surveillance were created, the rights of suspects, accused persons, and convicts were restricted. Continue reading

World Peace through Law as the Grand Solution? On the History of Nineteenth Century Interstate Arbitration

Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace (1795) might still be the most renowned philosophical voice that outlines – with mild irony – the relevance of the law (of nations) for “World Peace”. Borrowing from Kant’s insight that “war … is only the sad recourse in the state of nature (where there is no tribunal which could judge with the force of law)” (Sixth Preliminary Article), the nineteenth century saw an increasing number of successful attempts by scholars, politicians, and peace activists to put into practice third-party tribunals which arbitrated disputes between states by drawing on international law. Continue reading

An Empire of Capital? ISDS in CETA and TTIP as the Institutionalization of Unjustified Privilege

I. The case against ISDS in CETA and TTIP: Hysteria or genuine concern?
Among those familiar with the field of investment arbitration, the strong political reaction against the investor state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS) included in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) and originally planned to be included in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US (TTIP) comes as a surprise. After all, European states have concluded more than 1400 BITS in the past. Continue reading

What Judges Don’t Say – Judicial Strategy and Constitutional Theory

Constitutional courts have become an almost universal solution to a perennial anxiety of democratic regimes, promising to reign in the excesses of majoritarian politics. Yet, however insulated from other branches of government courts are intended to be, their power is not exercised in a politics-free zone, and concerns over their political effectiveness, if not bare survival, accompany constitutional courts everywhere. Continue reading