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Article

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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.
Discussion

Access_open Europe Kidnapped

Spanish Voices on Citizenship and Exile

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords migration, exile, citizenship, Europe, Spanish civil war
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Exile and migration are once more central issues in the contemporary European predicament. This short article intends to discuss these questions elaborating on the ideas of two Spanish authors, a novelist, Max Aub, and a philosopher, María Zambrano, both marked by the tragic events of civil war and forced expatriation. Exile and migration in their existential perspective are meant as a prologue to the vindication of citizenship.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy, Magna Græcia University of Catanzaro (Italy).
Article

Access_open On the Humanity of the Enemy of Humanity

A Response to My Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, humanity, International criminal justice, piracy
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Antony Duff, Marc de Wilde, Louis Sicking, and Sofia Stok offer several criticisms of my “The Enemy of All Humanity,” but central to all of them is concern that labeling people hostis generis humani dehumanizes them, and invites murder or extrajudicial execution. In response I distinguish political, legal, and theoretical uses of the ancient label. I agree with the critics that the political use is toxic and the legal use is dispensable. However, the theoretical concept is crucial in international criminal law, which rests on the assumptions that the moral heinousness of core crimes makes them the business of all humanity. Furthermore, far from dehumanizing their perpetrators, calling them to account before the law recognizes that they are no different from the rest of humanity. This response also offers rejoinders to more specific objections raised by the critics.


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

Access_open The substance of citizenship: is it rights all the way down?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Citizenship, Political Membership, Citizenship Rights
Authors Chiara Raucea
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines how the distribution of social goods within a political community relates to decisions on membership boundaries. The author challenges two renowned accounts of such a relation: firstly, Walzer’s account according to which decisions on membership boundaries necessarily precede decisions on distribution; secondly, Benhabib’s account, according to which membership boundaries can be called into question on the basis of universalist claims. Departing from both accounts, the author concludes that actual changes in the pool of participants in practices of creation and exchange of social goods pressure a political community to redefine its distributive patterns and, accordingly, the boundaries of its formal political membership. This claim will be supported by the analysis of threshold cases decided by the EU Court of Justice, in which EU citizenship is invoked with the atypical purpose of granting rights to a specific group of non-formal members.


Chiara Raucea
Chiara Raucea is lecturer at Tilburg Law School. A longer version of her article is included in her doctoral dissertation Citizenship Inverted: From Rights To Status?, defended in December 2017 at Tilburg University.

Carel Smith
Carel Smith is philosopher of law and associate professor at Leiden Law School.
Article

Access_open Personhood and legal status: reflections on the democratic rights of corporations

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Corporations, democracy, legal personality, personhood, inclusion
Authors Ludvig Beckman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Corporations can have rights but whether they should also have democratic rights depends among other things on whether they are the kind of entities to which the democratic ideal applies. This paper distinguishes four different conceptions of “the person” that can have democratic rights. According to one view, the only necessary condition is legal personality, whereas according to the other three views, democratic inclusion is conditioned also by personhood in the natural sense of the term. Though it is uncontroversial that corporations can be legal persons, it is plausible to ascribe personhood in the natural sense to corporations only if personhood is conceptualized exclusively in terms of moral agency. The conclusion of the paper is that corporations can meet the necessary conditions for democratic inclusion but that it is not yet clear in democratic theory exactly what these conditions are.


Ludvig Beckman
Ludvig Beckman is professor of political science at Stockholm University.
Article

Access_open Crisis in the Courtroom

The Discursive Conditions of Possibility for Ruptures in Legal Discourse

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords crisis discourse, rupture, counterterrorism, precautionary logic, risk
Authors Laura M. Henderson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the conditions of possibility for the precautionary turn in legal discourse. Although the precautionary turn itself has been well-detailed in both legal and political discourse, insufficient attention has been paid to what made this shift possible. This article remedies this, starting by showing how the events of 9/11 were unable to be incorporated within current discursive structures. As a result, these discursive structures were dislocated and a new ‘crisis discourse’ emerged that succeeded in attributing meaning to the events of 9/11. By focusing on three important cases from three different jurisdictions evidencing the precautionary turn in legal discourse, this article shows that crisis discourse is indeed employed by the judiciary and that its logic made this precautionary approach to counterterrorism in the law possible. These events, now some 16 years ago, hold relevance for today’s continuing presence of crisis and crisis discourse.


Laura M. Henderson
Laura M. Henderson is a researcher at UGlobe, the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges, at Utrecht University. She wrote this article as a Ph.D. candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open A new interpretation of the modern two-pronged tests for insanity

Why legal insanity should not be a ‘status defense’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords substantive criminal law, excuses, insanity defense, status defense
Authors Johannes Bijlsma
AbstractAuthor's information

    Michael Moore has argued that modern two-pronged tests for legal insanity are wrongheaded and that the insanity defense instead should be a ‘status defense’. If Moore is right, than the laws on insanity in most legal systems are wrong. This merits a critical examination of Moore’s critique and his alternative approach. In this paper I argue that Moore’s status approach to insanity is either under- or overinclusive. A new interpretation of the modern tests for insanity is elaborated that hinges on the existence of a legally relevant difference between the mentally disordered defendant and the ‘normal’ defendant. This interpretation avoids Moore’s criticism as well as the pitfalls of the status approach.


Johannes Bijlsma
Johannes Bijlsma is assistant professor of criminal law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Sincere Apologies

The Importance of the Offender’s Guilt Feelings

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Sincerity of emotions, Guilt, Feelings, Apology, Offender
Authors Margreet Luth-Morgan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper discusses the meaning and the importance of emotions, in particular the sincere guilt feelings of the offender. It is argued that the emotion of guilt reveals important information about the offender’s values and normative position. In the remainder of the paper, special consideration is awarded to the argument concerning ritual apologies, which might contain value even when insincere. This argument is rejected, on two grounds: 1. if the apology ritual does not aim for sincere guilt feelings, then the use of the symbol of apology is not fitting; and 2. if the apology ritual does aim for sincere guilt, then an insincere apology devalues the sincere expression.


Margreet Luth-Morgan
Margreet Luth-Morgan is universitair docent aan Erasmus School of Law, sectie Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Dworkin’s Rights Conception of the Rule of Law in Criminal Law

Should Criminal Law be Extensively Interpreted in Order to Protect Victims’ Rights?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Klaas Rozemond, Ronald M. Dworkin, Legality in criminal law, Rights conception of the rule of law, Legal certainty
Authors Briain Jansen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The extensive interpretation of criminal law to the detriment of the defendant in criminal law is often problematized in doctrinal theory. Extensive interpretation is then argued to be problematic in the light of important ideals such as democracy and legal certainty in criminal law. In the Dutch discussion of this issue, Klaas Rozemond has argued that sometimes extensive interpretation is mandated by the rule of law in order to protect the rights of victims. Rozemond grounds his argument on a reading of Dworkin’s distinction between the rule-book and the rights conception of the rule of law. In this article, I argue that Dworkin’s rights conception, properly considered, does not necessarily mandate the imposition of criminal law or its extensive interpretation in court in order to protect victims’ rights.


Briain Jansen
Briain Jansen is als promovendus rechtstheorie verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Over verplichte excuses en spreekrecht

Wat is er mis met empirisch-juridisch onderzoek naar slachtoffers?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords empirical legal studies, apologies, procedural justice, humiliation, victim rights
Authors Vincent Geeraets and Wouter Veraart
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central question in this article is whether an empirical-legal approach of victimhood and victim rights could offer a sufficient basis for proposals of legal reform of the legal system. In this article, we choose a normative-critical approach and raise some objections to the way in which part of such research is currently taking place in the Netherlands, on the basis of two examples of research in this field, one dealing with compelled apologies as a possible remedy within civil procedural law and the other with the victim’s right to be heard within the criminal legal procedure. In both cases, we argue, the strong focus on the measurable needs of victims can lead to a relatively instrumental view of the legal system. The legal system must then increasingly be tailored to the wishes and needs of victims. Within this legal-empirical, victim-oriented approach, there is little regard for the general normative principles of our present legal system, in which an equal and respectful treatment of each human being as a free and responsible legal subject is a central value. We argue that results of empirical-legal research should not too easily or too quickly be translated into proposals for legal reform, but first become part of a hermeneutical discussion about norms and legal principles, specific to the normative quality of legal science itself.


Vincent Geeraets
Vincent Geeraets is universitair docent aan de afdeling Rechtstheorie en rechtsgeschiedenis van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is hoogleraar rechtsfilosofie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open The Demos as a Plural Subject

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords democracy, demos, normativity, Margaret Gilbert, joint commitment
Authors Bas Leijssenaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Existing conceptualizations of the demos fail to treat issues of composition and performativity consistently. Recent literature suggests that both aspects are required in a satisfactory account of the demos. An analysis of this literature suggests several desiderata that such an account must meet. I approach the definition of demos with a conceptual framework derived from Margaret Gilbert’s plural subject theory of social groups. I propose an account of demos as a plural subject, constituted by joint commitment. This account offers an improved and consistent understanding of normativity, composition, agency, and cohesion of demos.


Bas Leijssenaar
Bas Leijssenaar is PhD-candidate at the Institute of Philosophy, Centre for Social and Political Philosophy of the University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open The Erosion of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, state, Léon Duguit, European Union, Eurozone
Authors Martin Loughlin
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an account of sovereignty as a concept that signifies in jural terms the nature and quality of political relations within the modern state. It argues, first, that sovereignty is a politico-legal concept that expresses the autonomous nature of the state’s political power and its specific mode of operation in the form of law and, secondly, that many political scientists and lawyers present a skewed account by confusing sovereignty with governmental competence. After clarifying its meaning, the significance of contemporary governmental change is explained as one that, in certain respects, involves an erosion of sovereignty.


Martin Loughlin
Martin Loughlin is Professor of Public Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and EURIAS Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS).
Article

Access_open E pluribus unum? The Manifold Meanings of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords political sovereignty, power, legislative sovereignty, constitutive power, external sovereignty
Authors Raf Geenens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates and classifies the different meanings of the term sovereignty. What exactly do we try to convey when using the words “sovereign” or “sovereignty”? I will argue that, when saying that X is sovereign, we can mean five different things: it can mean that X holds the capacity to force everyone into obedience, that X makes the laws, that the legal and political order is created by X, that X holds the competence to alter the basic norms of our legal and political order, or that X is independently active on the international stage. These different usages of the term are of course related, but they are distinct and cannot be fully reduced to one another.


Raf Geenens
Raf Geenens is an assistant professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open National Identity, Constitutional Identity, and Sovereignty in the EU

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords national identity, constitutional identity, EU law, constitutional courts, Court of Justice
Authors Elke Cloots
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article challenges the assumption, widespread in European constitutional discourse, that ‘national identity’ and ‘constitutional identity’ can be used interchangeably. First, this essay demonstrates that the conflation of the two terms lacks grounding in a sound theory of legal interpretation. Second, it submits that the requirements of respect for national and constitutional identity, as articulated in the EU Treaty and in the case law of certain constitutional courts, respectively, rest on different normative foundations: fundamental principles of political morality versus a claim to State sovereignty. Third, it is argued that the Treaty-makers had good reasons for writing into the EU Treaty a requirement of respect for the Member States’ national identities rather than the States’ sovereignty, or their constitutional identity.


Elke Cloots
Elke Cloots is post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Government and Law, University of Hasselt.
Article

Access_open Power and Principle in Constitutional Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, constitutional law, positivism, constructivism, common law
Authors Pavlos Eleftheriadis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legal and sociological theories of sovereignty disagree about the role of legal and social matters in grounding state power. This paper defends a constructivist view, according to which the constitution is a judgment of practical reason. The paper argues that a constitution sets out a comprehensive institutional architecture of social life in terms of principles and official roles that are necessary for any legitimate scheme of social cooperation to exist. It follows that legal and sociological theories of sovereignty capture only part of the truth of sovereignty. Legal reasoning engages with political power, but it is not determined by it. There is no causal chain between power and validity, as suggested by the legal positivists. The relation between power and law is interpretive, not causal. It follows that the circularity of law and the constitution, namely the fact that the law makes the constitution and the constitution makes the law, is not a vicious circle. It is part of an ordinary process of deliberation.


Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Pavlos Eleftheriadis is Associate Professor of Law and Fellow in Law at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.
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 The Justification of Basic Rights

A Response to Forst

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Justification, Kant
Authors Glen Newey
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper responds to Rainer Forst’s article ‘The Justification of Basic Rights’. I argue that Forst's main thesis is difficult to pin down, partly because it is formulated in significantly distinct ways at numerous points. I offer a possible formulation of the argument but note that this encapsulates a fallacy; I further argue that his inference of the basic rights seems to imply an over-moralisation of social life and that his argument does not distinguish rights with discretionary and non-discretionary content. Then I query Forst’s claim that a right to justification is a condition of engaging in justificatory discourse. This leads to the conclusion that what goes into the process of justification, including who figures in the discursive community, are irreducibly political questions, whose answers cannot be convincingly specified antecedently by a form of moral legislation. I argue that actual discursive processes allow for considerably more contingency and contextual variability than Forst’s construction acknowledges. This extends, as I suggest in conclusion, to the idea that content can be specified via the Kantian notion that acceptability requires the ‘containment’ of an actor's ends by another, such as an affected party.


Glen Newey
Glen Newey is professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics at Leiden University.
Editorial

Access_open Rainer Forst: The Justification of Basic Rights

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Authors Bertjan Wolthuis, Elaine Mak and Lisette ten Haaf
Author's information

Bertjan Wolthuis
Bertjan Wolthuis is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is professor of Jurisprudence at the Institute of Constitutional, Administrative Law and Legal Theory, Utrecht University

Lisette ten Haaf
Lisette ten Haaf is PhD candidate at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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