March 22, 2014

Cross-post: The Commission gets the point – but not necessarily the instruments (Jan-Werner Müller)

Many readers may have already seen this post by network member Jan-Werner Müller at Verfassungsblog and EUtopialaw – if not, we’re happy to alert you to it here.  It continues Jan's exploration of the ways in which European integration can serve as a check on the failings of democracy on the national level, with particular focus on the Hungarian case (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here).  The first paragraph of the post is reproduced below and the remainder can be read here.  Jan thanks Gábor Halmai as well as network members Dan Kelemen and Kim Lane Scheppele for comments on a draft of this post.  

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This week the European Commission issued a Communication about a new framework for protecting the rule of law within EU Member States.  Is this the long hoped for mechanism that allows the EU to deal with internal threats to liberal democracy (the democratic deficits within Member States, so to speak) effectively?  The clear-cut answer is: yes and no.  The Commission has evidently understood that attempts systematically to undermine rule of law principles require a different response than individual infringement proceedings.  Depending on the circumstances, a structured process of naming and shaming which is now available to the Commission might work.  But if it doesn’t, then the Commission will remain just as helpless as before: no new sanction mechanisms are envisaged (and, to be fair, none might be feasible without treaty change).  In that sense, the new framework formalizes — or, in the words of Commission President Barroso, “consolidates” – the Commission’s de facto approach in recent years.  This is not a trivial achievement; and it’s probably the most the Commission could do on the basis of existing law and with available institutions such as the Fundamental Rights Agency.  It may well deter some governments.  But for illiberal national politicians determined to go head to head with the Commission, there is in the end still only Article 7 TEU – and that remains as difficult to put into effect as before. [continued reading here]

March 19, 2014

Book Announcement: The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication

We’re pleased to announce the appearance of  The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication, co-edited by network member Karen Alter (Northwestern), along with Cesare Romano (Loyola-LA) and Yuval Shany (Hebrew University) . As the table of contents reveals, the book also includes a contribution from network member Mark Pollack (Temple). More information can be found on the OUP website here and the publisher's description is below.


The post Cold War proliferation of international adjudicatory bodies and international adjudication has had dramatic effects on both international law and politics, greatly affecting international relations, particularly economic relations, the enforcement of human rights, and the criminal pursuit of perpetrators of mass atrocities. International courts and tribunals have become, in some respects, the lynchpin of the modern international legal system. The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication uniquely brings together analysis of the legal, philosophical, ethical and political considerations brought about by these bodies. It provides an original and comprehensive understanding of the various forms of international adjudication. A series of cross-cutting chapters overview key issues in the field, both theoretical and practical, providing scholars, students, and practitioners with a detailed understanding of important legal and political influences within the international adjudicative process.

March 16, 2014

Call for Panels and Papers (Deadline Mar 31, 2014): Rethinking the Boundaries of Public Law and Public Space

We are pleased to pass on the call for panels and papers from network member Julie C. Suk for the Inaugural Conference of the International Society of Public Law to be organized at the European University Institute in Florence, from June 26-28, 2014. The Conference is entitled "Rethinking the Boundaries of Public Law and Public Space". The announcement is below and a provisional program can be found in PDF form here

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Call for Panels and Papers 
Rethinking the Boundaries of Public Law and Public Space 
The Inaugural Conference of the International Society of Public Law 

On June 26-28, 2014, in Florence, the European University Institute, NYU La Pietra and the University of Florence will be hosting the inaugural conference of the newly established International Society of Public Law (ICON•S).

You are invited to submit proposals for either individual papers or panels to be presented at the conference, or simply to register for participation.

Full details, modules for submitting proposals and information on how to register for the conference are available at The website also sets out the aims of the new Society and displays the provisional program of the inaugural conference.

March 4, 2014

EU Law Stories Conference (March 13 at AU-WCL): Comparative and Contextual Histories of European Jurisprudence

We wanted to alert readers to the "EU Law Stories" conference hosted by our friends at American University Washington College of Law in DC, which will take place on Thursday, March 13.  It may be of interest to those of us also attending the CES conference, which begins the following day. An overview of the program is immediately below, including links to network members who are taking part.  Further information, including registration details, can be found here.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014
8:30 am – 6:00 pm
American University Washington College of Law, 6th floor lounge
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

The conference will engage lawyers, historians, and social scientists in an interdisciplinary analysis of the important, engaging, or enigmatic EU law cases in order to develop ‘thick’ descriptions of them, more accurate contextual histories, engagement with the leading personalities involved, and critical perspectives in European integration. This will go beyond the standard ‘text book’ analyses of these cases and ‘fold’ the political science and developing historical research in together with the broader legal framework. The aim is to bring together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds into an open and productive conversation and publish the fruits of this as a volume with a leading press that we think it is timely to influence both the scholarly debates on EU law as well as its teaching.

February 17, 2014

The Network at the CES 21st International Conference of Europeanists, Washington, DC, March 14-16, 2014

There will be a large number of network members at the 21st International Conference of Europeanists in Washington, DC, March 14-16, organized by the Council of European Studies.  The full program can be found here.  This is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction, which is one of the core purposes of assembling the network.  To that end, below the fold is a listing of the panels in which network members will be participating; alas, there are plenty of conflicts, so plan ahead.  Looking forward to seeing many of you in DC.

February 12, 2014

The “Rumble in Karlsruhe”: The German Federal Constitutional Court’s Historic OMT Case (Russell Miller)

Network member Russell Miller (W&L), on the I-CONnect bloghas recently weighed in on the German Federal Constitutional Court's decision last Friday on the ECB's OMT program.  Below are the opening paragraphs of his post and you can read the remainder here.

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A few years ago I was at a transatlantic policy event in Washington, DC.  It was the height of the Eurozone’s sovereign debt and banking crisis and there was palpable fear that that the Euro would crumble.  If the ten year old currency union were brought to its knees, it would be the result of a near-fatal one-two-punch.  The hard left-cross had been delivered by the profligate budgetary policies in the so-called “crisis countries.”  And the match-ending right-handed uppercut had come in the form of Germany’s almost-genetic revulsion towards monetary solutions in the face of debt difficulties.

There was very real concern that Europe’s dreadful handling of the crisis might have devastating economic effects around the world.  It was clear, however, that no proper conversation about the crisis could go forward without taking account of the role played by the German Federal Constitutional Court.  This bordered on the bizarre for many of the Americans involved in the discussion.  What does a domestic court have to do with European policy, many wondered.  And for those more sensitive to judicial activism in general, it was a question of the propriety of any role for any court in such high-stakes and highly-technical matters. [continue reading here]

February 11, 2014

Barking vs. Biting: Understanding the German Constitutional Court’s OMT reference … and its implications for EU Reform

The reflections below are cross-posted, with permission, from

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I find myself in familiar territory.  Just as with the ESM Ruling of September 2012, some of the insta-commentary on a decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC) on the Eurozone crisis calls for a response. At issue in September 2012 was the claim that the GFCC’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction against the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) was evidence of “the Court’s weakness in EU matters.” At issue now is the idea that the Court’s decision this past Friday to refer a question to the CJEU – on the compatibility of the ECB’s OMT program with the treaties – is somehow an “abdication,” indeed “nothing less than a surrender of sovereignty by Germany’s highest court.” 

Commentators much closer to as well as more knowledgeable of these matters have already weighed in on this over-reaction. I’d still like to offer some additional reflections, not merely to add what I hope will be some context to Friday’s decision, but also to shed some light on the Court’s strategy in the “game” in which it inescapably finds itself. Finally, I’d like to suggest that the Court’s ruling has major implications for the process of EU reform that David Cameron has been struggling to energize. As I’ll explain in the conclusion to this post (apologies in advance for its length), it is hard to envision any outcome of Friday’s decision that will not compel the Angela Merkel’s government to undertake reform, including treaty changes.  This presents an opportunity for the British government but only if it’s prepared to accept that European reform must include not merely “less” Europe, but also “more,” including possibly an expanded mandate for the ECB to explicitly embrace OMT.

February 10, 2014

Call for Papers (Deadline Mar 9, 2014): What Form of Government for the EU and the Eurozone?

We are pleased to pass on the call for papers for a new Conference to be organized at Tilburg Law School on June 5-6, 2014. The Conference is entitled "What Form of Government for the EU and the Eurozone?" and one of the lead participants is network member Dan KelemenThe announcement is below and can be found in PDF form here

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What Form of Government for the European Union and the Eurozone?

Venue: Tilburg Law School, Tilburg, the Netherlands
Dates: June 5-6, 2014
Organizers: Federico Fabbrini, Han Somsen on behalf of Tilburg Law School

The debate about the institutional reforms of the European Union (EU) generally, and of the Euro-zone specifically, has recently acquired a new impetus. The Euro-crisis and the constitutional responses to it have profoundly modified de facto and de jure the institutional architecture of the EU designed by the Lisbon Treaty, and a number of influential road-maps have been advanced at the highest level of policy-making to trace the way forward for the EU. The purpose of this Conference is to examine from a comparative constitutional perspective the form of government of the EU and to discuss the prospects of integration and institutional reform in the Eurozone and the EU at large.

February 2, 2014

German Law Journal, Europe and the Lost Generation: Call For Papers, Essays and Comments (due April 15, 2014)

This call for papers from the German Law Journal, which was forwarded to us by network member Russell Miller (W&L), is seeking contributions reflecting from a broad range of perspectives on the legal, social, political and personal implications of the heavy burden resting on young people in the European south. It is, therefore, addressed in particular young legal researchers with backgrounds in or ties to the Eurozone's "crisis countries". The announcement is below and can be found in PDF form here, along with information about the submission procedure.


Call For Papers – Essays – Comments 

Europe and the Lost Generation 

There are hints of recovery in some of the Eurozone’s so-called “crisis countries.” The Irish GDP is growing even as unemployment and borrowing costs fall. With the help of recent export growth, Spain’s two-year-old recession seems to have worn itself out. The IMF is closely watching what it calls a “fragile” economic recovery in Greece.

These hopeful signs have been purchased at a terrible price for the European project. The Commission’s Spring 2013 Eurobarometer Report showed a steady increase in the negative impressions of the EU, matched almost in lock-step with a steady decrease in the positive impressions of the EU. Now there is growing anxiety that Euroskeptic parties might capitalize on this disillusionment and win a significant bloc in the upcoming elections for the European Parliament. European Council President Herman van Rompuy acknowledged the damage one month ago in speech in Berliln when he cautioned against rising nationalism and populism in Europe and lamented the fact that prejudice toward other member states has significantly increased. Jürgen Habermas, in an April 2013 speech at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, concluded with regret that “what unites the European citizens today are Euroskeptical mindsets.”

But the cost to the European project is nothing compared with the human toll that has resulted from the rescue and bailout measures. Young Europeans in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland have been especially hard-hit by staggering unemployment and vanishing prospects for the future. They are being called “the lost generation” and, in their millions, their stories constitute an almost silent political and moral indictment that has been characterized by some as a “social time-bomb.”

January 27, 2014

Call for Papers (Extended Deadline Feb 7, 2014): Workshop on Transnational Perspectives for Equality Law

We had posted this CFP previously but wanted to alert readers that the deadline has now been extended to February 7, 2014, and more importantly the eligibility requirements to submit proposals have been revised to invite faculty members at non-US institutions.

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Call for Presentations and Papers
Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law

June 22-24, 2014: Washington, D.C.

FEB 7, 2014

New Eligibility Categories:
Fellows and International Law School Faculty

We are seeking proposals for presentations and papers for the 2014 Mid-Year Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law.  The Workshop will be held on June 22-24, 2014 in Washington, DC at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.  The workshop will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 22 and conclude at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24.  It will appeal to a wide range of teachers and scholars interested in these and related subject areas.


Antidiscrimination law is an American invention that has spread all around the world.  During the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, antidiscrimination law promised radical social transformations towards equality for women and minorities in the workplace, in politics, and in education.  But recent developments in Equal Protection and Title VII doctrine have paralyzed this trajectory.  Meanwhile, the last decade has seen the unprecedented globalization of antidiscrimination law, as well as its expansion and alternative development outside the United States, catalyzed largely by the European Union's two directives in 2000, on race equality and on equal treatment in employment.  Over the last few years, a new body of equality law and policy experimentation has emerged not only in the EU and in European countries, but also in South Africa, Canada, Latin America, and Asia. There is a range of public policies adopted to mitigate the disadvantages of vulnerable groups such as racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor, constituting an "equality law" that goes beyond norms prohibiting discrimination.