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Discussion

Access_open Plugging the Legitimacy Gap? The Ubiquity of Human Rights and the Rhetoric of Global Constitutionalism

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords global constitutionalism, legitimacy, human rights, Neil Walker, post-state democracy
Authors Morag Goodwin
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper approaches Walker’s work from the perspective of the ubiquity of human rights language within the rhetoric of global constitutionalism. Building on Walker’s description of the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy, what I wish to suggest is that the spread of human rights discourse is intimately connected with attempts to apply constitutional discourse beyond the state. By highlighting the way in which human rights have become place-takers for political legitimacy in discussions of international constitutionalism, the paper is intended to challenge Walker to state his own position more forcefully and to develop further his insight concerning the irresolvable tension in the iterative relationship between constitutionalism and democracy.


Morag Goodwin
Morag Goodwin is Assistant Professor of Law and Development at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society at Tilburg Law School, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy: An Iterative Relationship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    The complexity of the relationship between democracy and modern constitutionalism is revealed by treating democracy as an incomplete ideal. This refers both to the empirical incompleteness of democracy as unable to supply its own terms of application – the internal dimension – and to the normative incompleteness of democracy as guide to good government – the external dimension. Constitutionalism is a necessary response to democratic incompleteness – seeking to realize (the internal dimension) and to supplement and qualify democracy (the external dimension). How democratic incompleteness manifests itself, and how constitutionalism responds to incompleteness evolves and alters, revealing the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy as iterative. The paper concentrates on the iteration emerging from the current globalizing wave. The fact that states are no longer the exclusive sites of democratic authority compounds democratic incompleteness and complicates how constitutionalism responds. Nevertheless, the key role of constitutionalism in addressing the double incompleteness of democracy persists under globalization. This continuity reflects how the deep moral order of political modernity, in particular the emphasis on individualism, equality, collective agency and progress, remains constant while its institutional architecture, including the forms of its commitment to democracy, evolves. Constitutionalism, itself both a basic orientation and a set of design principles for that architecture, remains a necessary support for and supplement to democracy. Yet post-national constitutionalism, even more than its state-centred predecessor, remains contingent upon non-democratic considerations, so reinforcing constitutionalism’s normative and sociological vulnerability. This conclusion challenges two opposing understandings of the constitutionalism of the global age – that which indicts global constitutionalism because of its weakened democratic credentials and that which assumes that these weakened democratic credentials pose no problem for post-national constitutionalism, which may instead thrive through a heightened emphasis on non-democratic values.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Discussion

Access_open The Co-originality of Law and Democracy in the Moral Horizon of Modernity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords co-originality, deliberative democracy, Habermas, Lefort, modernity
Authors Stefan Rummens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper argues that Neil Walker’s analysis of the complementary relationship between democracy and constitutionalism remains one-sided. It focuses only on the incompleteness of democracy and the democracy-realizing function of constitutionalism rather than also taking into account the reverse complementary and constitution-realizing function of democracy. In this paper, I defend a fuller account that takes into account this mutual complementarity between democracy and constitutionalism. Such an alternative approach is consequential for Walker’s argument in two respects. In terms of the general analysis of the relationship between democracy and constitutionalism, my adjusted approach leads to a defence of the Habermasian thesis of the co-originality of constitutionalism and democracy which is too quickly dismissed by Walker himself. A fuller appreciation of this co-originality suggests that the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy is perhaps, after all, more singularly complementary (as opposed to being both complementary and oppositional) than Walker recognizes. In terms of the more specific analysis of the impact of globalization, this adjusted approach tilts the argument in favour of the critics of current practices of postnational constitutionalism. Without complementary postnational democratic structures, this constitutionalism remains problematic and potentially oppressive.


Stefan Rummens
Stefan Rummens is Assistant Professor of Political Theory at the Institute for Management Research of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open The Globalizing Turn in the Relationship Between Constitutionalism and Democracy

Some Reiterations from the Perspective of Constitutional Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutional law, constitutionalism, historic constitutions, revolutionary constitutions, pouvoir constituant (irrelevance of)
Authors Leonard F.M. Besselink
AbstractAuthor's information

    This essay complements Walker’s essay with some historical and constitutional observations. It submits that Walker’s analysis is based to a large extent on reasoning derived from a particular continental European constitutional tradition. This creates certain problems of its own, that do not arise in a different constitutional tradition. This is not to say, however, that this invalidates his conclusions, but rather underpins them in an alternative manner.


Leonard F.M. Besselink
Leonard Besselink is Professor of European Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy

A Reply to Four Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    This reply to critics reinforces and further develops a number of conclusions of the original paper. First, it answers the charge that it is biased in its discussion of the relative standing of constitutionalism and democracy today, tending to take the authority of the former for granted and concentrating its critical attention unduly on the incompleteness of democracy, by arguing that contemporary constitutionalism is deeply dependent upon democracy. Secondly, it reiterates and extends the claim of the original paper that the idea and practice of democracy is unable to supply its own resources in the development of just forms of political organization. Thirdly, it defends its key understanding of the overall relationship between democracy and constitutionalism as a ‘double relationship’, involving both mutual support and mutual tension. A fourth and last point is concerned to demonstrate how the deeper philosophical concerns raised by the author about the shifting relationship between democracy and constitutionalism and the conceptual reframing they prompt are important not just as an explanatory and evaluative window on an evolving configuration of political relations but also as an expression of that evolution, and to indicate how this new conceptual frame might condition how we approach the question of a democracy-sensitive institutional architecture for the global age.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Discussion

Access_open Democracy, Constitutionalism and the Question of Authority

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords international constitutionalism, democracy, international law, fragmentation, international politics
Authors Wouter G. Werner
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper agrees with Walker on the existence of a tension between democracy and constitutionalism, but questions whether democracy and (international) constitutionalism necessarily depend on each other. While democracy needs constitutionalism on normative grounds, as an empirical matter it may also rest on alternative political structures. Moreover, it is questionable whether democracy is indeed the solution to the incompleteness of international constitutionalism. Traditional forms of democracy do not lend themselves well to transplantation to the international level and could even intensify some problems of international governance. Attempts to democratize international relations should be carried out prudentially, with due regard for possible counterproductive effects.


Wouter G. Werner
Wouter Werner is Professor of Public International Law at VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Editorial

Access_open Presentation

Editors of this special issue

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Authors Mireille Hildebrandt, Bart van Klink and Eric Tjong Tjin Tai
Author's information

Mireille Hildebrandt
Mireille Hildebrandt is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence at Erasmus University Rotterdam and senior researcher at the centre for Law Science Technology and Society Studies (LSTS), Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology at VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Eric Tjong Tjin Tai
Eric Tjong Tjin Tai is Professor of Private Law at Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Constitutionele toetsing in een democratie zonder volk

Een kelseniaanse rechtvaardiging voor het Europees Hof van Justitie

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2010
Keywords Kelsen, Democracy, Legitimacy, European Union, European Court of Justice
Authors Quoc Loc Hong
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article draws on Hans Kelsen’s theory of democracy to argue that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the democratic legitimacy of either the European Union (EU) or the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The legitimacy problems from which the EU in general and the ECJ in particular are alleged to suffer seem to result mainly from our rigid adherence to the outdated conception of democracy as popular self-legislation. Because we tend to approach the Union’s political and judicial practice from the perspective of this democracy conception, we are not able to observe what is blindingly obvious, that is, the viability and persistence of both this mega-leviathan and the highest court thereof. It is, therefore, imperative that we modernize and adjust our conception of democracy in order to comprehend the new reality to which these bodies have given rise, rather than to call for ‘reforms’ in a futile attempt to bring this reality into accordance with our ancient preconceptions about what democratic governance ought to be. Kelsen is the democratic theorist whose work has enabled us to venture into that direction.


Quoc Loc Hong
Quoc Loc Hong was a FWO Postdoctoral Fellow from 2007 to 2009 at the University of Antwerp. He is currently an independent researcher.
Miscellaneous

Access_open Everything we do is tentative. An interview with Prof. Frederick Schauer

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2010
Keywords Schauer, rule priority, legal principles, legal positivism, generality
Authors Bo Zhao
AbstractAuthor's information

    Professor Schauer covers many topics in this interview. On a general note, the interview covers themes pertaining to his experience in engaging with legal philosophy as a trained lawyer; his views on the present and the future of legal philosophy and how we shall cope with its development; his new book Thinking like a Lawyer; the role of legal philosophers in law and society; and some sincere suggestions to young legal philosophers. It also covers more specific topics, including discussions about his insistence on rule priority; differences between legal principles and rules; his opinion of legal positivism; and the pros and cons of analytical tools like spectrum, continuum and generality.


Bo Zhao
Bo Zhao is a post-doc researcher at the History Department, Faculty of Arts, and the Legal Theory Department, Faculty of Law, University of Groningen.
Article

Access_open ‘Wat is waarheid?’ De rol van deskundigen bij waarheidsvinding in de strafrechtspraak

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2010
Keywords Legitimation durch Verfahren, criminal law, expert-witnesses, truth, reliability of evidence
Authors Anne Ruth Mackor
AbstractAuthor's information

    Huls has argued that the idea that judges are truth-finders is misleading. In the first part of the paper I put his claim to the test. Against Huls I argue that the aim of procedures in criminal lawsuits is not only to guarantee binding decisions but also to help to find the truth. In the second part of the paper I investigate the role expert-witnesses play in truth-finding. Cleiren and Loth have argued that experts fail to understand the differences between legal and scientific ways of truth-finding. It turns out that Cleiren does not offer an argument for her claim and that Loth’s claim fails too, since it confuses coherence as truth and coherence as epistemic justification. I conclude that legal scholars, rather than experts, fail to understand the nature of legal and scientific truth-finding.


Anne Ruth Mackor
Anne Ruth Mackor is professor of professional ethics, in particular of the legal professions, at the Faculty of Law of Groningen, and Socrates professor of professional ethics at the Faculties of Philosophy and Theology of Groningen.

Mireille Hildebrandt
Mireille Hildebrandt is associate professor of Jurisprudence at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Law Science Technology and Society, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Article

Access_open Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach: In Need of a Moral Epistemology?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2009
Keywords Martha Nussbaum, Capabilities Approach, moral epistemology, objectivity, residues of justice, Bernard Williams, political moralism
Authors Mr. Iris van Domselaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although Nussbaum’s “Capabilities Approach” (CA) clearly expresses a commitment to objectivity, this article argues that this commitment is rather ambiguous due to the conception of public reason it endorses. In particular, the CA cannot account for an objective justification of public reason, given certain characteristics of public reason. As a result, the CA jeopardizes the substantive aim it has set itself: to provide an objective justification for public choices regarding human capabilities and their specifications.


Mr. Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is a Ph.D-student and lecturer at the Department of General Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam. The subject of her thesis is “Residues of Justice and Tragic Legal Choice in a Liberal Rule of Law”.
Article

Access_open Corporate Responsibility Revisited

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords individual responsibility, collective responsibility, legal liability, responsibility and politics
Authors prof. Philip Pettit
Abstract

    This paper responds to four commentaries on “Responsibility Incorporated”, restating, revising, and expanding on existing work. In particular, it looks again at a set of issues related primarily to responsibility at the individual level; it reconsiders responsibility at the corporate level; it examines the connection of this discussion to issues of responsibility in law and politics.


prof. Philip Pettit
Hoofdartikel

Access_open Responsibility Incorporated

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords corporate agency, corporate responsibility, collective responsibility
Authors prof. Philip Pettit
AbstractAuthor's information

    Incorporated groups include businesses, universities, churches and the like. Organized to act as single centers of agency, they also routinely satisfy the three conditions that make an agent fit to be held responsible: they face significant choices, can recognize the relative value of different options, and are able to choose in sensitivity to such values. But is it redundant to hold a corporate agent responsible for something, when certain members are also held responsible for the individual parts they play? No it is not, for it is often possible for a corporate entity to be fully fit to be held responsible, when this is not true of the individual members; they may be able to make excuses that are not available at the corporate level. Does the case made for corporate responsibility extend to unincorporated collectivities like nations or religions? Not strictly but it does explain why it may be sensible to treat those collectivities as if they had corporate responsibility in certain domains.


prof. Philip Pettit
Philip Pettit is the Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University.
Article

Access_open On the Enactment of Corporate Arrangements

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords collective responsibility, individual responsibility
Authors prof. Bert van den Brink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Whereas Pettit distinguishes between responsibility for the enactment of a directly harmful act and responsibility for the arrangement or constitution that channels the formation of a corporate agent’s beliefs, desires, and intentions, we should acknowledge the existence of yet a third level of responsibility: the enactment of corporate arrangements that makes the enactment of harmful corporate actions likely or unavoidable.


prof. Bert van den Brink
Bert van den Brink is Associate Professor of Political and Social Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy of Utrecht University.
Article

Access_open Morality Incorporated? Some Peculiarities of Legal Thinking

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords responsibility, accountability, imputation, liability
Authors prof. Bert van Roermund and prof. Jan Vranken
AbstractAuthor's information

    Responsibility disappears into the background of private law as it deals with imputation of liability. Fitness to be held liable is determined by normative viewpoints different from moral ones, in particular by convictions on how society ought to be organized so as to avoid or end conflict between private citizens. Modes of discursive control are geared to making authoritative decisions in view of the same end, and corporate agency is created, restricted or enlarged to undercut or to impose individual liability.


prof. Bert van Roermund
Bert Van Roermund is Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy of Tilburg University.

prof. Jan Vranken
Jan Vranken is Professor of Private Law at the Faculty of Law of Tilburg University and former Advocate General at the Dutch Supreme Court.
Article

Access_open Collective Responsibility, National Peoples, and the International Order

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords collective responsibility, international legitimacy, global justice
Authors prof. Ronald Tinnevelt
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper critically scrutinizes Pettit’s defence of corporate and collective responsibility in the light three questions. First, does Pettit successfully argue the passage from corporate responsibility to the responsibility of embryonic group agents, in particular nations? Second, are representation and the authorial and editorial dimensions of democratic control sufficient to ensure that a state is under the effective and equally shared control of its citizens? Third, what kind of international order is required to prevent states from being dominated?


prof. Ronald Tinnevelt
Ronald Tinnevelt is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Faculty of Law of the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Collective Criminal Responsibility: Unfair or Redundant

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords collective criminal responsibility;, individual responsibility
Authors dr. Govert den Hartogh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper argues, against Pettit’s thesis about the incorporation of responsibility, that holding collective agents criminally responsible is necessarily either redundant or unfair: redundant if responsibility can be distributed without remainder over individual persons; unfair if it cannot. It should be the task of legal systems to create chains of individual criminal responsibility encompassing executives, officials, and members of corporate agents.


dr. Govert den Hartogh
Govert den Hartogh is Professor of Ethics at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open ‘The Soviet Union did not have a legal system’

An interview with Jeremy Waldron on the methodology debate, historic injustice and the citation of foreign law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2009
Keywords normative positivism, historic injustice, restitution of property rights, citation of foreign law, methodology debate
Authors Kees Quist and Wouter Veraart
AbstractAuthor's information

    This interview with Jeremy Waldron covers three topics. Firstly, we dealt with the methodology debate, that is, the discussion about how to proceed in analyzing the nature of law. Does the question ‘What is law?’ require a descriptive analysis of the concept of law or, rather, a normative exercise in political philosophy? Secondly, we spoke about the role of law in response to historic injustice, especially in relation to the restitution of property rights. On this topic Waldron vindicates the ‘supersession-thesis’, the idea that, due to changed circumstances and the passage of time, historic injustices become superseded. The third section of the interview is devoted to Waldron’s perspective on the citation of foreign law by national judges.


Kees Quist
Kees Quist is junior lecturer and PhD fellow at Utrecht Law School.

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is professor of Legal Philosophy at the VU University Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open An Agonist's Reply

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2008
Keywords claim, character, know-how, machine, model, reputatie, service, settlement, binding
Authors B. Honig

B. Honig
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