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Article

Access_open The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Authors Petra Gyöngyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.
Article

Access_open What does it mean to be ‘illiberal’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue Pre-publications 2020
Keywords Liberalism, Illiberalism, Illiberal practices, Extremism, Discrimination
Authors Bouke de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘Illiberal’ is an adjective that is commonly used by scholars. For example, they might speak of ‘illiberal cultures’, ‘illiberal groups’, ‘illiberal states’, ‘illiberal democracies’, ‘illiberal beliefs’, and ‘illiberal practices’. Yet despite its widespread usage, no in-depth discussions exist of exactly what it means for someone or something to be illiberal, or might mean. This article fills this lacuna by providing a conceptual analysis of the term ‘illiberal practices’, which I argue is basic in that other bearers of the property of being illiberal can be understood by reference to it. Specifically, I identify five ways in which a practice can be illiberal based on the different ways in which this term is employed within both scholarly and political discourses. The main value of this disaggregation lies in the fact that it helps to prevent confusions that arise when people use the adjective ‘illiberal’ in different ways, as is not uncommon.


Bouke de Vries
Bouke de Vries is a postdoctoral research fellow at Umeå University and the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open Religie op het werk?

Over positieve en negatieve godsdienstvrijheid bij private ondernemingen en tendensondernemingen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Authors Leni Franken and François Levrau
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we elaborate on the place of religion in the workplace. Does the individual freedom of religion imply that employers must always accommodate the religious claims of employees or can they boast a number of arguments allowing them to legitimately limit that freedom? And, conversely, do employers not also have a right to freedom of religion and a right to formulate certain religious expectations for their employees? In this contribution, we deal with these and related questions from a legal-philosophical perspective. The overall aim is to illustrate the extent to which univocal answers are jeopardized because of conceptual ambiguities. We first make a normative distinction between two strategies (i.e. difference-blind approach and difference-sensitive approach) and subsequently illustrate and elaborate on how and why these strategies can lead to different outcomes in legal cases. We illustrate the extent to which a contextual and proportional analysis can be a way out in theoretical and practical conundrums.


Leni Franken
Leni Franken is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.

François Levrau
François Levrau is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.
Article

Access_open Liberal Democracy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords national identity, historical narratives, universal values, equal citizenship
Authors Tamar de Waal
AbstractAuthor's information

    Increasingly often, it is stated that the universal values underpinning Western liberal democracies are a product of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition. This article explores the legitimacy of this claim from the perspective of liberal-democratic theory. It argues that state-endorsed claims about the historical roots of liberal-democratic values are problematic (1) if they are promoted as though they are above democratic scrutiny and (2) if they insinuate that citizens who belong to a particular (majority) culture remain the ‘cultural owners’ of the core values underpinning the state. More pragmatically, the paper suggests that the claim carries the risk of failing to facilitate all citizens becoming or remaining committed to nurturing fundamental rights and a shared society based on norms of democratic equality.


Tamar de Waal
Tamar de Waal is assistant professor of legal philosophy at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Mobile Individualism: The Subjectivity of EU Citizenship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Individualism, EU Citizenship, Depoliticisation, Mobile Individualism, Citizenship and Form of Life
Authors Aristel Skrbic
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central aim of this article is to analyse the manner in which the legal structure of EU citizenship subjectifies Union citizens. I begin by explicating Alexander Somek’s account of individualism as a concept which captures EU citizenship and propose to update his analysis by coining the notion of mobile individualism. By looking at a range of CJEU’s case law on EU citizenship through the lens of the purely internal rule and the transnational character of EU citizenship, I suggest that movement sits at the core of EU citizenship. In order to adequately capture this unique structure of citizenship, we need a concept of individualism which takes movement rather than depoliticisation as its central object of analysis. I propose that the notion of mobile individualism can best capture the subjectivity of a model EU citizen, a citizen who is a-political due to being mobile.


Aristel Skrbic
Aristel Skrbic is a PhD candidate and teaching and research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy at the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open The Enemy of All Humanity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, piracy, crimes against humanity, universal jurisdiction, radical evil
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Trationally, the term “enemy of all humanity” (hostis generis humani) referred to pirates. In contemporary international criminal law, it refers to perpetrators of crimes against humanity and other core. This essay traces the evolution of the concept, and then offers an analysis that ties it more closely to ancient tyrants than to pirates. Some object that the label is dehumanizing, and justifies arbitrary killing of the “enemy of humanity.” The essay admits the danger, but defends the concept if it is restricted to fair trials. Rather than dehumanizing its target, calling the hostis generis humani to account in a court of law is a way of recognizing that radical evil can be committed by humans no different from any of us.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University.

Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is assistant professor of legal theory at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Opinion

Access_open Do We Want 'More or Fewer' Prosecutions of Opinions? The Geert Wilders Trial 2.0

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Geert Wilders, hate speech, freedom of opinion, District Court of The Hague, conviction
Authors Jogchum Vrielink
Author's information

Jogchum Vrielink
Jogchum Vrielink is a guest professor at the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en droit constitutionnel, Université Saint-Louis (Brussels) and at the Faculty of Canon Law, University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Discourse-Theoretical Approach

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Non-domination, Kant
Authors Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I suggest a discourse theory of basic legal rights that is superior to rival approaches, such as a will-based or an interest-based theory of rights. Basic rights are reciprocally and generally justifiable and binding claims on others (agents or institutions) that they should do (or refrain from doing) certain things determined by the content of these rights. We call these rights basic because they define the status of persons as full members of a normative order in such a way that they provide protection from severe forms of legal, political and social domination. The very ground of these rights is the status of persons as free and equal normative authorities within the order they are subject to. In other words, these rights are grounded in a fundamental moral right to justification.


Rainer Forst
Rainer Forst is professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.
Article

Access_open What Does it Mean to Justify Basic Rights?

Reply to Düwell, Newey, Rummens and Valentini

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Authors Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I reply to the four comments on my paper ‘The Justification of Basic Rights: A Discourse-Theoretical Approach’ given by Laura Valentini, Marcus Düwell, Stefan Rummens and Glen Newey.


Rainer Forst
Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.

    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.
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.
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.

    The article considers the role of the liberal public-private divide in protecting religious minorities against national-majoritarian assault. It links the defence of the public-private divide to liberal neutrality and argues that it rests on two distinct propositions: that the distinction between the ’public sphere’ and the ’private sphere’ is a meaningful way to cognize and structure modern pluralistic societies; and that there is a meaningful way to distinguish what is or ought to be ‘public’ from what is or ought to be ‘private.’ While the latter proposition cannot be defended on grounds of liberal neutrality, the former proposition provides the institutional framework for conducting liberal politics by enabling the negotiation of the public and the private between national majorities and religious minorities as members of the same political community.


Daniel Augenstein
Daniel Augenstein is Associate Professor at the Department of European and International Public Law at Tilburg University.

    In this article, we inquire the merits of criminalizing blasphemy. We argue that religious views do not warrant a separate treatment compared to nonreligious ones. In addition, freedom of speech must be balanced against the interest of those who may be aggrieved by blasphemous remarks. We conclude that penalizing blasphemy is undesirable. It is fortunate, in that light, that acts of blasphemy have recently been decriminalized in The Netherlands by removing blasphemy as an offense from the Criminal Code. Still, other provisions appear to leave enough room to reach the same result, making the removal a possibly virtually aesthetic change. In the international context, it would be regrettable for The Netherlands to forgo the opportunity to take a leading role.


Jasper Doomen
Jasper Doomen is verbonden als docent/onderzoeker aan de afdeling Encyclopedie van de Rechtswetenschap van de Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteit Leiden.

Mirjam van Schaik
Mirjam van Schaik is verbonden als docent/onderzoeker aan de afdeling Encyclopedie van de Rechtswetenschap van de Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteit Leiden.
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