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Artikel

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Auteurs Maurits Helmich
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    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.
Artikel

Access_open Crimes Against Humanity and Hostes Generis Humani

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden hostis generis humani, Luban, crimes against humanity, political community, international criminal law
Auteurs Antony Duff
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    In ‘The Enemy of All Humanity’, David Luban provides an insightful and plausible account of the idea of the hostis generis humani (one that shows that the hostis need not be understood to be an outlaw), and of the distinctive character of the crimes against humanity that the hostis commits. However, I argue in this paper, his suggestion that the hostis is answerable to a moral community of humanity (in whose name the ICC must thus claim to speak) is not tenable. Once we recognize the intimate connection between criminal law and political community, we can see that the hostis should answer to the local, domestic political community in and against which he commits his crimes; and that the proper role of the International Criminal Court, acting in the name of the community of nations, is to provide a second-best substitute for such answering when the local polity cannot or will not hold him to account.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff is Professor Emeritus at the University of Stirling.
Artikel

Access_open Sincere Apologies

The Importance of the Offender’s Guilt Feelings

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Sincerity of emotions, Guilt, Feelings, Apology, Offender
Auteurs Margreet Luth-Morgan
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.

    This paper interprets the presumption of innocence as a conceptual antidote for sacrificial tendencies in criminal law. Using Girard’s philosophy of scapegoat mechanisms and sacrifice as hermeneutical framework, the consanguinity of legal and sacrificial order is explored. We argue that some legal concepts found in the ius commune’s criminal system (12th-18th century), like torture, infamy, or punishment for mere suspicion, are affiliated with scapegoat dynamics and operate, to some extent, in the spirit of sacrifice. By indicating how these concepts entail more or less flagrant breaches of our contemporary conception of due process molded by the presumption of innocence, an antithesis emerges between the presumption of innocence and sacrificial inclinations in criminal law. Furthermore, when facing fundamental threats like heresy, the ius commune’s due process could be suspended. What emerges in this state of exception allowing for swift and relentless repression, is elucidated as legal order’s sacrificial infrastructure.


Rafael Van Damme
Rafael Van Damme is PhD-student in philosophy.
Artikel

Access_open Institutional Religious Accommodation in the US and Europe

Comparative Reflections from a Liberal Perspective

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden European jurisprudence, freedom of religion, religious-based associations, religious accommodation
Auteurs Patrick Loobuyck
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    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.
Artikel

Access_open Religious Sovereignty and Group Exemptions

A Response to Jean Cohen

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden democracy, exemptions, group rights, religious institutionalism
Auteurs Jonathan Seglow
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    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.
Artikel

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Auteurs Jean L. Cohen
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    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.

    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.
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