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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.
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 Is de vrijheid van godsdienst in de moderne multiculturele samenleving nog een hanteerbaar recht?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2010
Keywords freedom of religion, human rights, human dignity, traditional religion, unequal treatment
Authors Koo van der Wal
AbstractAuthor's information

    There are two fundamental problems with regard to the freedom of religion. The first concerns the content and scope of the right; the second, a possible unequal treatment between population groups. The first problem can only be dealt with by a preliminary analysis of the religious phenomenon, which precedes a legal definition. It turns out that there is a range of different types of religion, with on the one hand traditional forms of religion which are narrowly interwoven with the culture in question (all kinds of ‘cultural’ practices possessing a religious dimension), and on the other forms of religion which loosen to a considerable extent the ties between culture and religion. Evidently, the former types of religion cause problems in modern society. An additional problem is that freedom of religion as a modern basic right rests on a view of human being – including the idea of the inherent dignity and autonomy of the human person – which is at odds with the symbolic universe of traditional religion. The conclusion of the article is that in the modern pluralist society freedom of religion is on its way to becoming, or already has become, an unmanageable right. So the problems arising around this right (including that of unequal treatment) can only be solved in a pragmatic, not really satisfactory way. In that context, modern humanitarian standards should be observed in the implementation of the right of freedom of religion because fundamental human rights are connected with a specific concept of humanity.


Koo van der Wal
Koo van der Wal is emeritus professor of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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.
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