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    In this article I develop a political realist notion of public reason. It may be thought that a notion of public reason is simply incompatible with the position of the political realist. But this article claims that a realist notion of public reason, different from the familiar political liberal idea of public reason, can be reconstructed from ancient texts on rhetoric and dialectic, particularly Aristotle's. The specification of this notion helps us understand the differences between contemporary liberal and realist positions.


Bertjan Wolthuis
Bertjan Wolthuis is Assistant Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Ronald Tinnevelt
Ronald Tinnevelt is hoofddocent rechtsfilosofie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

    This paper interprets the presumption of innocence as a conceptual antidote for sacrificial tendencies in criminal law. Using Girard’s philosophy of scapegoat mechanisms and sacrifice as hermeneutical framework, the consanguinity of legal and sacrificial order is explored. We argue that some legal concepts found in the ius commune’s criminal system (12th-18th century), like torture, infamy, or punishment for mere suspicion, are affiliated with scapegoat dynamics and operate, to some extent, in the spirit of sacrifice. By indicating how these concepts entail more or less flagrant breaches of our contemporary conception of due process molded by the presumption of innocence, an antithesis emerges between the presumption of innocence and sacrificial inclinations in criminal law. Furthermore, when facing fundamental threats like heresy, the ius commune’s due process could be suspended. What emerges in this state of exception allowing for swift and relentless repression, is elucidated as legal order’s sacrificial infrastructure.


Rafael Van Damme
Rafael Van Damme is PhD-student in philosophy.

Wouter de Been
Wouter de Been is in 2005 cum laude gepromoveerd bij Willem Witteveen aan de Tilburg Law School met een proefschrift over het Amerikaanse rechtsrealisme. Zijn proefschrift is in 2008 gepubliceerd bij de Stanford University Press onder de titel Legal Realism Regained. Hij was co-redacteur en co-auteur van de bundel Crossroads in New Media, Identity and Law, die in 2015 werd uitgebracht door Palgrave, en co-redacteur van de bundel Facts and Norms in Law, die in 2016 zal uitkomen bij Edward Elgar.

Leila Faghfouri Azar
Leila Faghfouri Azar (LL.M., M.A.) is a post-graduate candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, Faculty of Law.

    This paper provides a dialectical-historical description of the EU's constitutional discourse. It is argued that the early Community's member state blind principle of justice implied the notion of a European political community and led to the establishment of fair procedures for decision making. This coming of age of an encompassing European constitutional narrative of justice and fairness prompted the question of the demarcation between the political role of the European political community and that of member states' political communities. The answer proved to be subsidiarity. However, subsidiarity has introduced national conceptions of justice in the Union's constitutional discourse, at the risk of making European justice dependent on national conceptions of justice.


Dries Cools
Dries Cools works at the National Bank of Belgium and holds a Master of Laws and a Master in Philosophy of the KU Leuven and an LL.M. of Harvard Law School.

Marjoleine Zieck
Dr. Marjoleine Zieck is Professor of International Refugee Law at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam, and Professor of Public International Law at the Pakistan College of Law, Lahore.

Erik De Bom
Erik De Bom is an intellectual historian and political theorist, who is affiliated as a postdoctoral researcher to the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven). He specializes in early modern political thought (esp. sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) and normative political theory (esp. with regard to the European Union). Among his research interests are questions related to social justice, sovereignty, boundaries and migration.

Thomas Riesthuis
Thomas Riesthuis is a PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Tamar de Waal
Tamar de Waal is a PhD candidate legal and political theory at the Paul Scholten Centre, University of Amsterdam (Law Faculty).
Article

Access_open Religion Ain’t Sacrosanct

How to Fight Obsolete Accounts of Religious Freedom

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords Hobby Lobby, Hosanna-Tabor, tolerance-leaning liberalism, equality-leaning liberalism
Authors Roland Pierik
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper is largely an endorsement and a further elaboration of Cohen’s critical discussion of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases and the conceptual overstretch of religious freedom they embody. I disagree with Cohen, however, on the proper interpretation of this debate. Cohen construes the ominous Court cases as an anti-liberal attack on the liberal state order. My main thesis is that the root of this dispute can be traced back to a fault line within liberalism between a more tolerance-leaning and a more equality-leaning tradition. I argue that the ominous cases are instances of the tolerance-leaning tradition in liberalism, which once was characteristic of the liberal tradition. Still, I agree with Cohen that this tradition should be rejected because it reverts to an obsolete interpretation of religious freedom that defends unwarranted privileges for certain groups that are out of sync with the egalitarian underpinnings of contemporary liberal political orders.


Roland Pierik
Roland Pierik is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam Law School.

    In her reply to critics, Jean Cohen responds to some of the main criticisms and remarks raised by the respondents.


Professor Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.

Stefan Rummens
Stefan Rummens is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of the KU Leuven, Belgium.

Roland Pierik
Roland Pierik is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam Law School.
Article

Access_open Institutional Religious Accommodation in the US and Europe

Comparative Reflections from a Liberal Perspective

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords European jurisprudence, freedom of religion, religious-based associations, religious accommodation
Authors Patrick Loobuyck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jean Cohen argues that recent US Supreme Court decisions about institutional accommodation are problematic. She rightly points out that justice and the liberal concept of freedom of consciousness cannot do the work in Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor: what does the work is a medieval political-theological conception of church immunity and sovereignty. The first part of this commentary sketches how the autonomy of churches and religious associations can be considered from a liberal perspective, avoiding the pitfall of the medieval idea of libertas ecclesiae based on church immunity and sovereignty. The second part discusses the European jurisprudence about institutional accommodation claims and concludes that until now the European Court of Human Rights is more nuanced and its decisions are more in line with liberalism than the US Jurisprudence.


Patrick Loobuyck
Patrick Loobuyck is Associate Professor of Religion and Worldviews at the Centre Pieter Gillis of the University of Antwerp and Guest Professor of Political Philosophy at Ghent University.
Article

Access_open Religious Sovereignty and Group Exemptions

A Response to Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords democracy, exemptions, group rights, religious institutionalism
Authors Jonathan Seglow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This response concurs with Cohen’s critique of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases but investigates whether religious accommodation might sometimes be justified in the case of institutions and groups (not just individuals). It suggests that exemptions for associations that are recruited to advance state purposes (e.g., in welfare or education) may be more justifiable than where private associations seek to maintain illiberal – for example, discriminatory – rules in line with their religious ethos. Non-democratic associations with a strong religious ethos might in principle enjoy permissible accommodation on the grounds that its members acquiesced to that ethos by joining the association, but only if other conditions are met. Democratic associations with a religious ethos have in principle a stronger claim for accommodation; in practice, however, few religious associations are internally democratic, especially where they seek to preserve illiberal internal rules.


Jonathan Seglow
Jonathan Seglow is Reader in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Article

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Authors Jean L. Cohen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article focuses on an expansive conception of religious freedom propagated by a vocal group of American legal scholars – jurisdictional pluralists – often working with well-funded conservative foundations and influencing accommodation decisions throughout the US. I show that the proliferation of ‘accommodation’ claims in the name of church autonomy and religious conscience entailing exemption from civil regulation and anti-discrimination laws required by justice have a deep structure that has little to do with fairness or inclusion or liberal pluralism. Instead they are tantamount to sovereignty claims, involving powers and immunities for the religious, implicitly referring to another, higher law and sovereign than the constitution or the people. The twenty-first century version of older pluralist ‘freedom of religion’ discourses also rejects the comprehensive jurisdiction and scope of public, civil law – this time challenging the ‘monistic sovereignty’ of the democratic constitutional state. I argue that the jurisdictional pluralist approach to religious freedom challenges liberal democratic constitutionalism at its core and should be resisted wherever it arises.


Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Group Pluralism versus Group Accommodation

A Commentary on Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords group pluralism, multiculturalism, religious accommodation
Authors Avigail Eisenberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I sharply distinguish between religious group-based pluralism and religious accommodation, which are each reflected in the cases examined in Jean Cohen’s paper and thereby provide a clearer understanding of different kinds of challenges to protecting religious freedom today and explain how these two approaches sometimes pull interpretations of religious freedom in different directions.


Avigail Eisenberg
Avigail Eisenberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Article

Access_open Disaggregating Corporate Freedom of Religion

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords church autonomy, freedom of association, Jean Cohen, freedom of religion
Authors Sune Lægaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper investigates arguments for the idea in recent American Supreme Court jurisprudence that freedom of religion should not simply be understood as an ordinary legal right within the framework of liberal constitutionalism but as an expression of deference by the state and its legal system to religion as a separate and independent jurisdiction with its own system of law over which religious groups are sovereign. I discuss the relationship between, on the one hand, ordinary rights of freedom of association and freedom of religion and, on the other hand, this idea of corporate freedom of religion, often called ‘church autonomy’. I argue that the arguments conflate different issues, elide important distinctions and equivocate over crucial terms. There is accordingly a need for disaggregation of the concerns raised under the heading of church autonomy. This significantly weakens the apparent case for church autonomy.


Sune Lægaard
Sune Lægaard is Associate Professor in Practical Philosophy at Roskilde University, Denmark.
Article

Access_open Terug naar het begin: Een onderzoek naar het principe van constituerende macht

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2015
Keywords constituent power, legitimacy, representation, collective action, ontology
Authors Nora Timmermans Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In dit artikel argumenteer ik dat er twee mogelijke invullingen zijn voor het principe van constituerende macht. De eerste mogelijkheid is deze van de klassieke basisveronderstelling van de constitutionele democratie, namelijk dat de gemeenschap zelf vorm kan en moet geven aan de fundamentele regels die die gemeenschap beheersen. Hans Lindahl maakt een interessante analyse van deze traditionele invulling, die ik kritisch zal benaderen. Lindahl heeft immers zelf scherpe kritiek op de invulling die Antonio Negri aan het concept constituerende macht geeft. Mijn interpretatie gaat er echter van uit dat Negri een fundamenteel andere inhoud geeft aan het principe van constituerende macht, waarbij constituerende macht niet alleen wordt losgemaakt van het constitutionalisme, maar meer algemeen van elk rechtssysteem en zelfs van elke vorm van finaliteit. Deze argumentatie werpt een nieuw licht op het debat rond Negri’s theorie van constituerende macht, waarin diens meest fundamentele uitgangspunt vaak over het hoofd wordt gezien.


Nora Timmermans Ph.D.
Nora Timmermans is Master in Philosophy and currently a Ph.D. Student.
Article

Access_open The Casuistry of International Criminal Law: Exploring A New Field of Research

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2015
Keywords international criminal law, judicial reasoning, casuistry, genocide
Authors Marjolein Cupido
AbstractAuthor's information

    International criminal courts have made an important contribution to the development of international criminal law. Through case law, the courts have fine-tuned and modernized outdated concepts of international crimes and liability theories. In studying this practice, scholars have so far focused on the judicial interpretation of statutory and customary rules, thereby paying little attention to the rules’ application in individual cases. In this article, I reveal the limitations of this approach and illustrate how insights from casuistry can advance international criminal law discourse. In particular, I use the example of genocide to show that casuistic case law analyses can help scholars clarify the meaning of the law and appraise the application of substantive legal concepts in individual cases. Based on these observations, I argue that scholars should complement their current research with studies into the casuistry of international criminal law.


Marjolein Cupido
Marjolein Cupido is Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminal Law at VU University Amsterdam and fellow of the Center for International Criminal Justice.
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