The article deals with the question whether a state might be held liable for the infringement of constitutional law if its national court of last instance violates the obligation to make a reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union under the conditions laid down in Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and developed in the case-law of the Court. Relying on the well-established practice of the European (...) Court of Human Rights, which accepts that in theory an arbitrary decision not to refer a question for a preliminary ruling could infringe the right to a fair trial established in the ECHR, the author analyses whether constitutional courts of Germany, Czech Republic, Spain and Lithuania have elaborated the equivalent practice and if so, whether they have established any specific criteria that national courts are required to bring into play in order to substantiate the decision not to refer. (shrink)
This essay on law and religion appears in the second edition of the Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, edited by Dennis Patterson. It is a revision of a similar entry in the book’s first edition. The essay opens by broadly discussing the complex relationships between law and religion writ large as movements in human history – social, cultural, intellectual, and institutional phenomena with distinct but often overlapping logics and concerns. It then hones in on the efforts (...) of secular law to make sense of religion and determine its place in the civil state. The essay argues that, while the questions raised by the American Bill of Rights’ religion clauses connect in some important respects to broader constitutional principles such as free expression and equality, the most interesting and theoretically excruciating conundrums involving religion need to be approached on their own unique terms. Two useful rubrics for such understanding are “separation” and “deference.” Any honest account must also admit, however, that there is an “intractable residue,” questions in the relation of religion and law to which there simply is no determinate or completely satisfactory answer. Finally, the essay emphasizes that the full texture of the legal imagination’s effort to grapple with religion only becomes apparent in the wider range of subconstitutional and nonconstitutional contexts beyond the standard litany of constitutional discourse. (shrink)
This essay proposes a theory of excuse that, without blending it into exculpation, avoids the condonation of crime. The question it takes up is: given that neither compulsion by circumstances nor by human threats removes the legal reason for punishing, how can its exonerating force be rendered compatible with the stateâs general duty to punish the guilty? The chapter criticizes various proposals for reconciling excuse with the duty to punish the guilty, including the moral involuntariness theory, the concession to frailty (...) theory, and the conformity to moral expectation theory. It then proposes a solution: moral blamelessness exonerates because it simulates the conditions for legal exculpation. Just as the exculpated actor acknowledges the legal norm of mutual respect for agents, so does the excused actor acknowledge the public reason of the self-sufficient political community of which the legal norm is a part. The author argues that this theory would excuse the altruistic no less than the self-preferring murderer. (shrink)
The article discusses the certain features of the constitutional doctrine of human rights developed by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania which were influenced by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the role of the European Convention on Human Rights as a legal source in the system of sources of constitutional law. The intersection of the jurisprudences, which came into being due to different assessments of the legal regulation in cases where the same legal act (...) was recognized by the Constitutional Court being in compliance with the Constitution and the European Court of Human Rights recognized that the application of the said act was a cause of the violation of a certain person’s rights protected by the Convention (or vice versa) is one of the most important questions and raises many theoretical and practical problems. Different assessment of the legal acts made by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to their compliance with the Conventionshould not be regarded as such an essential circumstance which could lead to possible repeated review of such legal act at the Constitutional Court, such intersection of the jurisprudences, should be solved by ordinary courts while following the doctrine that in cases where legal acts contain the legal regulation which competes with that established in the international treaty, the international treaty should be applied. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is that of discussing some recent antipositivist theses, with specific reference to the arguments that focus on the alleged incapability of legal positivism to understand and explain the complex normative structure of constitutional states. One of the central tenets of legal positivism (in its guise of ``methodological'' or ``conceptual'' positivism) is the theory of the separation between law and morality. On the assumption that in contemporary legal systems, constitutional law represents a point of (...) intersection between law and basic moral values, antipositivists contrast legal positivism with two main arguments. First, on a more general level, the positivist theory of the separation between law and morality is questioned; then, and consequently, the ``neutrality thesis'' in the juristic study of law is rejected. The author discusses both these antipositivist arguments, and offers a brief defence of methodological positivism. (shrink)
In the 225 years since the United States Constitution was first drafted, no single book has addressed the key questions of what constitutions are designed to do, how they are structured, and why they matter. In From Words to Worlds, constitutional scholar Beau Breslin corrects this glaring oversight, singling out the essential functions that a modern, written constitution must incorporate in order to serve as a nation's fundamental law. Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern (...) constitution -- including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also moves into the esoteric, discussing the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examining in-depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put the structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why -- and if -- constitutions matter. His answer is a resounding yes. Solidly argued and engagingly written, this comparative study in constitutional thought demonstrates clearly the key components that a state's foundational document must address. In doing so, Breslin draws a critically important distinction between constitutional texts and constitutional practice. (shrink)
Alison L. LaCroix is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she specializes in legal history, federalism, constitutional law and questions of jurisdiction. She has written a fine, scholarly volume on the intellectual origins of American federalism. LaCroix holds the JD degree (Yale, 1999) and a Ph.D. in history (Harvard, 2007). According to the author, to fully understand the origins of American federalism, we must look beyond the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and range (...) over the colonial, revolutionary, and founding periods including developments in the early republic. LaCroix questions both the idea that American federalism originated, all at once, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the idea that republican ideology (with its strong emphasis on legislative power) was the single dominant framework of eighteenth-century American political thought. Versions and elements of federalist or con-federative ideas were also long present and in a process of development. (shrink)
The article examines Hans Kelsen's and Carl Schmitt's lines of thought concerning the relationship between constitutional and international law, with the aim of ascertaining their respective ability to capture developments affecting that relationship, even those of a contradictory nature. It is significant that, while the rise of wars of humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era has evoked Schmitt's concept of the bellum iustum, the evolution in the direction of the “constitutionalisation of international law” has drawn attention to Kelsen's (...) theoretical approach. However, these assumptions rely heavily on the opposing objectives that the two authors claimed to pursue, such as, respectively, the search for the ultimate seat of political power and a pure theory of law. Things are more complicated, both because these objectives by no means exhaust Kelsen's and Schmitt's lines of thought, and because the conception of sovereignty as omnipotence, at the core of the Weimar controversy, is now behind us. (shrink)
This contribution aims to explain how European Criminal Law can be understood as constitutive of European identity. Instead of starting from European identity as a given, it provides a philosophical analysis of the construction of self-identity in relation to criminal law and legal tradition. The argument will be that the self-identity of those that share jurisdiction depends on and nourishes the legal tradition they adhere to and develop, while criminal jurisdiction is of crucial importance in this process of mutual constitution. (...) This analysis will be complemented with a discussion of the integration of the first and the third pillar as aimed for by the Constitutional Treaty (TE), which would bring criminal law under majority rule and European democratic control. Attention will be paid to two ground breaking judgements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that seem to boil down to the fact that the Court actually manages to achieve some of the objectives of the CT even if this is not in force. This gives rise to a discussion of how the CT (and related judgements of the ECJ) may transform European criminal law in the Union to EU criminal law of the Union, thus producing an identity of the Union next to the identities prevalent in the Union. The contribution concludes with some normative questions about the kind of European identity we should aim to establish, given the fact that such identity will arise with further integration of criminal law into the first pillar. (shrink)
Logical paradoxes in the strict sense produce statements like those of the Liar ("This very statement is false") that are false if true, and true if false. They resist rational solution or at least divide logicians for centuries of apparently irreconcilable wrangling. What happens when similar paradoxes arise in law?
This article focuses on the analysis of the main positions of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania in the cases of intellectual property law. In the article three judgments and the positions of the Constitutional Court extracted therefrom are analysed. The Constitutional Court has formed several important positions with reference to intellectual property law regarding usage of property protection norms for the protection of intellectual property, requirements of application of compensation as an alternative to damages (...) compensation and the calculation of criterions thereof as well as functional legal protection of trademarks. It should be noted that Article 23(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania has extended protection to property and, as the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has noted, the constitutional protection of property covers not only the protection of tangible, but also of intellectual property. In the same judgment, the Constitutional Court stated another important intellectual property related rule, namely that constitutionally established property protection rights have to be implemented regardless of whether a corresponding international treaty has not been ratified, as protection of authors’ rights is granted under Articles 23 and 42(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. However, the second position stating that the rights of foreign subjects are to be implemented even though a corresponding international treaty has not been signed is to be criticised as by coming to such a conclusion the Constitutional Court has ignored the otherwise generally recognised principle of territoriality of intellectual property rights. In two other cases the Constitutional Court has made important statements relevant to intellectual property law. First of all, the Court stated that compensation instead of claiming actual damages is constitutional. By analysing the positions formulated by the Court, an indirect conclusion can be made to the effect that compensation instead of claiming actual damages is necessary in order to ensure effective protection of intellectual property rights. In other words, the purposes of compensation can be recognised: restoring (compensating) the infringed interests of the injured party; simplifying judicial proceedings, whereby faster proceedings (litigation) and easier substantiation is sought; and the preventive purpose (strong preventive effect). However, the Court’s argument regarding the criterion of compensation calculation, saying that the damages incurred by the intellectual property rights owner depend on the sale value of the product concerned is criticisable, as it is rarely the case that the licence fee or profit acquired in the result of unauthorised use of intellectual property objects is calculated with reference to the final sale price of the product. Notwithstanding the arguably weak argument of the Court, the Court’s position regarding the criterion of final sale price itself does not preclude the possibility of reaching a fair final decision. Finally, the Court acknowledged that trademark protection was limited to the economic functions of the trademark and the full protection thereof. (shrink)
In an effort at ethical reform, Taiwan recently revised the Hospice Palliative Care Law authorising family members or physicians to make surrogate decisions to discontinue life-sustaining treatment if an incompetent terminally ill patient did not express their wishes while still competent. In particular, Article 7 of the new law authorises the palliative care team, namely the physicians, to act as sole decision-makers on behalf of the incompetent terminally ill patient's best interests if no family member is available. However, the law (...) fails to provide guidance as to what constitutes the patient's best interests or what specific procedures the treating physicians should follow, and so has raised constitutional concerns. It may be difficult to translate ethical reform into law but it is not impossible if essential requirements are carefully followed. First, there must be substantial nexus between the purpose of the statute and the measures provided under the statute. Second, advocates need to convince the public that futility or waste has amounted to a public health emergency so as to justify lower procedural requirements. Third, a remedy or compensation should be available if the surrogate decisions have not been appropriately made. Fourth, minimum procedural safeguards are necessary even though the statute is intended to reduce the procedural burdens of making surrogate decisions on behalf of incompetent patients who lack family members and did not express their wishes while still competent. (shrink)
John Rawls’s political liberalism and its ideal of public reason are tremendously influential in contemporary political philosophy and in constitutional law as well. Many, perhaps even most, liberals are Rawlsians of one stripe or another. This is problematic, because most liberals also support the redefinition of civil marriage to include same-sex unions, and as I show, Rawls’s political liberalism actually prohibits same- sex marriage. Recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, however, California’s northern federal district court reinterpreted the traditional rational basis (...) review in terms of liberal neutrality akin to Rawls’s “public reason,” and overturned Proposition 8 and established same-sex marriage. (This reinterpretation was amplified in the 9th Circuit Court’s decision upholding the district court on appeal in Perry v. Brown.) But on its own grounds Perry should have drawn the opposite conclusion. This is because all the available arguments for recognizing same-sex unions as civil marriages stem from controversial comprehensive doctrines about the good, and this violates the ideal of public reason; yet there remains a publicly reasonable argument for traditional marriage, which I sketch here. In the course of my argument I develop Rawls’s politically liberal account of the family by drawing upon work by J. David Velleman and H. L. A. Hart, and discuss the implications of this account for political theory and constitutional law. (shrink)
Central to the freedom of association is the freedom to exclude. In fact, American constitutional law permits associations to discriminate on otherwise prohibited grounds, a principle of expressive discrimination or what I call "expressive exclusion." However, we lack a complete normative defense of it. Too often, expressive exclusion is justifi ed as a simple case of religious accommodation, or a simple case of freedom of association or speech—justifi cations that are defi cient. I argue that expressive exclusion is essential (...) in creating genuine space for democratic dissent. It stands at the intersection of speech, association, and democracy. (shrink)
Through an analysis of the US Supreme Court's case Heller this paper argues that legal process can be pragmatically reconceptualized so as to create information necessary to decide complex social issues. This is in contrast to other more standard conceptions of law as more emphasizing what information ought to be excluded.
Presupposition is the semantic-pragmatic phenomenon whereby a statement contains an implicit precondition that must be taken for granted (presupposed) for that statement to be felicitous. This article discusses the role of presupposition in legislative texts, using examples from Swiss constitutional and administrative law. It illustrates (a) how presuppositions are triggered in these texts and (b) what functions they come to serve, placing special emphasis on their constitutive power. It also demonstrates (c) how legislative drafters can distinguish between “good” presuppositions (...) and “bad” presuppositions by weighing their main advantage, conciseness, against their main flaw, reduced transparency. The present study argues that, if employed carefully, presuppositions can be a useful stylistic means to keep legislative texts free from unnecessary clutter that merely elaborates on the obvious; however, it also suggests that, if applied wrongly, presuppositions can camouflage the duties and obligations placed on the subjects of a law and thus impede its accessibility and its efficient and effective implementation. (shrink)
This book aims to distil the essentials of liberal constitutionalism from the jurisprudence and practice of contemporary liberal-democratic states. Most constitutional theorists have despaired of a liberal consensus on the fundamental goals of constitutional order. Instead they have contented themselves either with agreement on lower-level principles on which those who disagree on fundamentals may coincidentally converge, or, alternatively with a process for translating fundamental disgreement into acceptable laws. Alan Brudner suggests a conception of fundamental justice that liberals of (...) competing philosophic schools may accept as fulfilling their own basic commitments. He argues that the model liberal-democratic constitution is best understood as a unity of three constitutional frameworks: libertarian, egalitarian, and communitarian. Each of these has a particular conception of public reason. Brudner criticizes each of these frameworks insofar as its organizing conception claims to be fundamental, and moves forward to suggest an Hegelian conception of public reason within which each framework is contained as a constituent element of a whole. When viewed in this light, the liberal constitution embodies a surprising synthesis. It reconciles a commitment to individual liberty and freedom of conscience with the perfectionist idea that the state ought to cultivate a type of personality whose fundamental ends are the goods essential to dignity. Such a reconciliation, the author suggests, may attract competing liberalisms to a consensus on an inclusive conception of public reason under which political authority is validated for those who share a confidence in the individual's inviolable worth. (shrink)
The philosophical and natural law basis of the American order: remote and immediate ancestors -- The declaration and its constitution: linking first principle to necessary means -- A structurally-divided, but workable, government -- A limited government of enumerated power -- A government mindful of dual sovereignty -- A fair government -- A government commitment to freedom -- A government commitment to equality -- A government of imperfect knowledge of inkblots, liberty and life itself.
The main subject of the present research is the enforcement of the European Union law in the domestic legal order. This topic was chosen considering the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community and especially its declaration No. 17 on primacy of EU law. This article will explain the meaning of primacy of the European Union law and the resulting problems in some EU Member States, as well as possible solutions (...) to tackle the problems. The primacy of the European Union law over the national law was recognised as one of the constitutive principles of the European Union. The article includes relevant provisions of the Lisbon Treaty that deal with the rules concerning the legal requirements of the primacy of the European Union law in the EU primary law. The European Court of Justice has developed the meaning of the principle of primacy, which means that the European Union law should take precedence over national law (even over constitutional provisions) and should there be any conflicts between EU law and national law, every national court is obliged to apply the law of the European Union. The main issue of this article is analysing the principle of primacy of the European Union law over the Lithuanian law. (shrink)
This is the second volume in a sub-series of specially commissioned collaborative volumes on key topics at the heart of contemporary philosophy of law that will be appearing regularly within Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Law. A distinguished international team of legal theorists examine the issue of constitutionalism and pose such foundational questions as: why have a constitution? How do we know what the constitution of a country really is? How should a constitution be interpreted? Why should one generation feel (...) bound by the constitution of an earlier one? The volume will be of particular importance to those in philosophy, law, political science and international relations interested in what kinds of constitutions should be adopted in countries without them, and involved in debates about constitutional interpretation. (shrink)
The constitutional subject : singular, plural or universal? -- The constitutional subject and the clash of self and other : on the uses of negation, metaphor, and metonymy -- Reinventing tradition through constitutional interpretation : the case of unenumerated rights in the United States -- Recasting and reorienting identity through constitution-making : the pivotal case of Spain's 1978 Constitution -- Constitutional models : shaping, nurturing, and guiding the constitutional subject -- Models of constitution making -- (...) The constitutional subject and clashing visions of citizenship : can we be beyond what we are not? -- Can the constitutional subject go global? imagining a convergence of the universal, the particular, and the singular. (shrink)
The conundrum of the unconstitutional constitution -- The quest for a compelling unity -- The permeability of constitutional borders -- The sounds of silence : militant and acquiescent constitutionalism -- "The first page of the constitution" : family, state, and identity.
This book explores two basic questions regarding constitutional theory. First, in view of a commitment to democratic self-rule and widespread disagreement on questions of value, how is the creation of a legitimate constitutional regime possible? Second, what must be true about a constitution if the regime that it supports is to retain its claim to legitimacy? Howard Schweber shows that the answers to these questions appear in a theory of constitutional language that combines democratic theory with (...) class='Hi'>constitutional philosophy. The creation of a legitimate constitutional regime depends on a shared commitment to a particular and specialized form of language. Out of this simple observation, Schweber develops arguments about the characteristics of constitutional language, the necessary differences between constitutional language and the language of ordinary law or morality, as well as the authority of officials such as judges to engage in constitutional review of laws. (shrink)