WZB - social science research center berlin

Program guide to the conference
A short version of this program is also available here (pdf).

Friday, January 28
Location: Senatssaal, Humboldt University of Berlin, Unter den Linden 6

9.30 a.m. - 10.00 a.m.
Registration and Coffee

10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Panel 1: Rethinking the Foundations of Constitutional Authority:
Constituant Power, Self-Government, Rights Based Public Reason

This panel explores the question whether, as conventionally stipulated, "We the People" can plausibly be thought of as a constituent power that grounds the constitutions claim to supreme authority and if not, what should take its place. First, is it plausible to think of a power, rather than normative commitments as the grounds for constitutional authority? If not, what normative commitments are foundational to constitutionalism? Is there a constitutive connection between constitutionalism and the ubiquitous practice of requiring state conduct to meet public reason oriented standards, such as proportionality? Second, even to the extent the idea of a constituent power is at least in part susceptible to normative reconstruction, is it plausible that "We the People" are the exclusive constitutive power without any regard or reference to outsiders, or do outsiders have to be imagined as a co-constitutive power, as the frequent reference to international law and the actual participation of international institutions in many instances of constitution-giving seem to suggest?

David Dyzenhaus (Toronto)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Aharon Barak (Herzliya)
Alexander Somek (Iowa)
Download the paper here (pdf).

Chair: Mattias Kumm (New York/Berlin)

12.30 p.m. - 2.00pm
Lunch break

2.00 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.
Panel 2: Constitutionalism and the Legal World Beyond the State

This panel focuses on whether the legal world outside the state is part of the constitutional universe. On one hand this question comes up in constitutional interpretation and has in recent years given rise to heated debates in the US: to what extent should international law or the practice of other constitutional systems be relevant to the interpretation of the national constitution? Is the best interpretation of what a national constitution requires in part shaped by the global legal context it is part of? On the other hand the question arises whether law and politics beyond the state can appropriately be described in constitutional terms. How must we conceive of constitutionalism, to make plausible the claim that the European Union - or the international legal system with the UN Charta at its Apex? - is constitutional properly so called? What is gained and what is lost by doing so? What is at stake in these debates?

Jan Komarek (London)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Miguel Maduro (Florence)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Vlad Perju (Boston)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Andreas Paulus (Karlsruhe/Göttingen)

Chair: Tony Lang (St. Andrews)

5.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Roundtable: Back to Basics: What Is Constitutionalism?

The point of the roundtable is to take up, deepen and discuss questions that arose in the previous panels. The contemporary debates on constitutionalism are, at their heart, debates about how the core ideas animating the French and American revolutions should be understood and what this implies for the institutionalization for law and politics in the contemporary world. Assuming that contemporary ideas seek to understand themselves as progressive developments of that tradition: What elements of that tradition have been or should be abandoned and why? Which elements survive? What does it mean to justify law in constitutional terms? How is constitutionalization different from legalization? What kind of legalization qualifies as constitutionalization? To what extent should constitutional law settle debates? To what extent does it provide a framework for contestation? To what extent does constitutionalism presuppose hierarchy and centralization that is incompatible with the heterarchical or pluralist structure of the relationship between, say, national, European and international law?

Background and/or position papers with brief presentations:
Christoph Möllers (Berlin)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Ingolf Pernice (Berlin)
Nico Krisch (Berlin)
Download the paper here (pdf).

Chair: Antje Wiener (Hamburg)

Afterwards: Dinner for panelists

Saturday, January 29
Location: Conference Room 300, Social Science Research Center (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50

9.30 a.m. - 10.00 a.m.

10.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Panel 3: State Boundaries as a Normative Problem

Boundaries are taken for granted in much of modern constitutional theory. But more recently they have been discovered as a contentious issue that raises a wide range of constitutionally salient and philosophically challenging questions. Among them are the following: How should they be drawn? More specifically, what are the principles that determine whether or not secessionist claims to self-determination of national minorities ought to be recognized (as in Quebec or Kosovo)? Conversely: What are the principles that should guide the drawing of boundaries in the accession process in the European Union? Furthermore: To what extent do boundaries provide a justified shelter against claims made by those on the outside against those on the inside, be they claims to solidarity involving redistribution to outside of the state, or be they claims to solidarity involving access to territory and eventual citizenship? Does the degree to which national borders provide a shelter from claims of outsiders depend on the legal structure of the outside and the opportunities it provides for others? Does the very legitimacy of the state-based Westphalian system and its boundaries depend on conditions that only an appropriately structured international law can secure? If so, what are these conditions and what do they imply for the appropriate structure of international law?

Andreas Follesdal (Oslo)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Rob Howse / Ruti Teitel (New York)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Jeremy Waldron (Oxford/New York)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Neil Walker (Edinburgh)
Download the paper here (pdf).

Chair: Geir Ulfstein (Oslo)

12.30 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Lunch break

1.30 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.
Panel 4: Beyond State Consent: Rethinking the Foundations of International Law

There are good grounds to be sceptical about state consent as the foundation of international law, both because much of international practice does not fit that description and because it is unpersuasive on normative grounds. But what then are the foundations of contemporary international law? Is it plausible to claim that international law suffers a structural legitimacy deficit the moment it can no longer justified on the basis of state consent, if it fails to replicate the paradigmatically legitimate institutions of the liberal democratic state? Or does the legitimacy of the liberal democratic state depend on its openness to and constructive engagement with an appropriately structured international law? If so, what are the normative grounds which could justify these claims and what follows for the appropriate structure of international law?

Samantha Besson (Fribourg)
Ronald Dworkin (New York)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Mattias Kumm (Berlin/New York)
Download the paper here (pdf).

Chair: Georg Nolte (Berlin)

3.30 p.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Coffee break

4.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Roundtable: Constitutionalism in a New Key? What Might Global Constitutionalism Become?

This session seeks to continue and deepen the discussion of the themes of the two day conference.
Background papers and/or discussion points by

Antje Wiener (Hamburg)
Download the paper here (pdf).
Michael Zürn (Berlin)

Chair: Miguel Maduro (Florence)