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Access_open Where Were the Law Schools?

On Legal Education as Training for Justice and the Rule of Law (Against the ‘Dark Sides of Legality’)

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2021
Auteurs Iris van Domselaar
Auteursinformatie

Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is associate professor in legal philosophy and legal ethics at the Amsterdam Law School, University of Amsterdam.

Gijs van Maanen
Gijs van Maanen is PhD researcher at Tilburg Law School.
Artikel

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

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Auteurs Petra Gyöngyi
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Artikel

Access_open Legal and Political Concepts as Contextures

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Concepts, Contextualism, Essentially Contested Concepts, Legal Theory, Freedom
Auteurs Dora Kostakopoulou
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Socio-political concepts are not singularities. They are, instead, complex and evolving contextures. An awareness of the latter and of what we need to do when we handle concepts opens up space for the resolution of political disagreements and multiplies opportunities for constructive dialogue and understanding. In this article, I argue that the concepts-as-contextures perspective can unravel conceptual connectivity and interweaving, and I substantiate this by examining the ‘contexture’ of liberty. I show that the different, and seemingly contested, definitions of liberty are the product of mixed articulations and the development of associative discursive links within a contexture.


Dora Kostakopoulou
Dora Kostakopoulou is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU and Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University.

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

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

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2018
Trefwoorden Corporations, democracy, legal personality, personhood, inclusion
Auteurs Ludvig Beckman
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Artikel

Access_open The Demos as a Plural Subject

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden democracy, demos, normativity, Margaret Gilbert, joint commitment
Auteurs Bas Leijssenaar
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Artikel

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Auteurs Ronald Van Crombrugge
Samenvatting

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge

Marieke Borren
Dr. Marieke Borren werkte tot voor kort als postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de faculteit filosofie van de Universiteit van Pretoria, Zuid-Afrika. Op dit moment is ze UD filosofie aan de Open Universiteit en UD gender en postcolonial studies aan de Universiteit Utrecht.
Artikel

Access_open E pluribus unum? The Manifold Meanings of Sovereignty

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden political sovereignty, power, legislative sovereignty, constitutive power, external sovereignty
Auteurs Raf Geenens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Artikel

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

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden national identity, constitutional identity, EU law, constitutional courts, Court of Justice
Auteurs Elke Cloots
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Artikel

Access_open On the Justification of Basic Rights

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Considered judgements, Philosophical methodology
Auteurs Laura Valentini
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In his thought-provoking article, Rainer Forst develops a discourse-theoretical approach to the justification of basic rights, and argues that it is superior to interest-based and autonomy-based views. I cast doubt on the superiority of the discourse-theoretical approach. I suggest that, on reflection, the approach suffers from the same difficulties that Forst believes undermine rival views. My discussion raises broader questions about what desiderata a good justification of basic rights should satisfy.


Laura Valentini
Laura Valentini is associate professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    In this article I develop a political realist notion of public reason. It may be thought that a notion of public reason is simply incompatible with the position of the political realist. But this article claims that a realist notion of public reason, different from the familiar political liberal idea of public reason, can be reconstructed from ancient texts on rhetoric and dialectic, particularly Aristotle's. The specification of this notion helps us understand the differences between contemporary liberal and realist positions.


Bertjan Wolthuis
Bertjan Wolthuis is Assistant Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    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 Religion Ain’t Sacrosanct

How to Fight Obsolete Accounts of Religious Freedom

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden Hobby Lobby, Hosanna-Tabor, tolerance-leaning liberalism, equality-leaning liberalism
Auteurs Roland Pierik
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
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
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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 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
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.

    How best to account for moral quality in adjudication? This article proposes a six-pack of judicial virtues as part of a truly virtue-centred approach to adjudication. These virtues are presented as both constitutive and indispensible for realizing moral quality in adjudication. In addition, it will be argued that in order to honour the inherent relational dimension of adjudication a judge should not only possess these judicial virtues to a sufficient degree, he should also have the attitude of a civic friend. The Aristotelian concept of civic friendship will be proposed as an important complement to a virtue-ethical approach to adjudication.


Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Amsterdam Centre on the Legal Professions (ACLP), Department of Law, University of Amsterdam.

Raf Geenens
Raf Geenens is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy of the KU Leuven (Belgium).
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