On October 16-17, 2017, the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris will hold a conference on „De la dictature à l’état d’exception. Institutions, droit, théories“ („From dictatorship to state of exception. Institutions, Law, Theories“). Organized by Marie Goupy (CIPh) and Yann Rivière (EHESS), the conference aims at a historical and philosophical reconstruction of the idea of exception. This will include the institutional varieties of emergency powers, as well as the language of the exception. A detailed program can be found here, online inscription is required.
How should constitutional democracies navigate current problems of security? Presently, the globe’s established liberal democracies face almost no threat to their borders. Nevertheless, they have been confronted with pervasive insecurity and anxieties about appropriate responses, which has led to unprecedented delegation to and strengthening of executive power. This situation raises pressing questions about the conditions required to enlarge the zone of security without an undue sacrifice of liberal values and institutions, whose hallmarks include embedded constraints on the decisions and acts taken by political authorities in order to safeguard the liberties of citizens.
Probing the Anglo-American tradition of liberal political thought and practice, our contribution will seek to identify conceptual and practical approaches for meeting security challenges without compromising constitutional and ethical principles. Our inquiry will proceed in three parts. 1) The first aims to show that, from its founding moments, political liberalism confronted central puzzles associated with the state of exception, and elaborated a significant repertoire of ideas, impulses, and institutions that remain instructive. 2) Against the backdrop of this lineage, whose central figures include John Locke and Alexander Hamilton, in part two we examine the work of interwar and post-war twentieth century American political scientists Carl Friedrich, his Harvard doctoral student Frederick Watkins, and Clinton Rossiter who forged a liberal response to Carl Schmitt. Individually and as a coherent group, these scholars sought to place emergency responses within the ambit of the restraining qualities of law. They thus revisited and deepened a genuinely liberal approach to emergency. 3) Sketching the historical and political developments since the mid-twentieth century, we conclude by assessing the advantages and limitations of these liberal resources for dealing with contemporary security dilemmas.
The paper thus weaves together conceptual and historical vantages with policy considerations. Although manifestly of broader significance, it focuses primarily on the United States and Great Britain as the longest standing and most continuous examples of constitutional regimes struggling with these questions. As both countries have possessed disproportionate global power and have faced security issues with magnified intensity and scope, each has generated much experimentation in thought and institutional arrangements pertaining to the governance of emergency. These experiences and their lessons, we argue, have wide applicability.
On December 14, 2017, Matthias Lemke will give a talk on „The état d’urgence In France. Governance Before, During And After A National Emergency, 2015–2017” at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa. The presentation is part of the symposium on „Institutional Structures for Governance Before-During-After a National Emergency“, organized by Ido Rosenzweig. A full draft paper will be available by December 1st, 2017. For more information on the conference, please visit the website of the Minerva Center.
The suspension of the legal order is often said to be the (natural) consequence of the declaration of the state of emergency. This paper examines the role of suspension from a theoretical and legal point of view.
The idea of the suspension of (certain) rules in times of crises is not at all new. On the contrary, the ancient Latin phrase necessitas non habet legem, coined by Seneca the Elder, already expresses a similar idea. In 20th century German legal thought, the idea of suspension was wildly received and became a seminal topos in the discourse on the state of exception. It was in particular Carl Schmitt in his Political Theology from 1922 who popularized the idea: “To decide about the state of exception means to decide on the suspension of the whole constitution” (translation by A.-B. K.).
From that point onward, the mechanism of suspension has always been associated with the state of exception. Numerous authors such as Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Giorgio Agamben, Otto Depenheuer and Matthias Lemke still conceive the figure of suspension as an integral part of the legal institute of the state of exception. Thus, suspension became the cipher for the exceptional state.
This paper calls the depicted narrative into question. It answers the following questions: Where and why did the idea of suspension come up after 1789? And why was it so important for Schmitt’s thinking?What was the influence of Søren Kierkegaard on the concept? Last but not least: Do we find legal evidence for the idea of suspension in the legal orders of Germany and France when it comes to the state of exception?
From this day until the beginning of the #StatEx2017-Conference on Monday, November 13, 2017, the already available abstracts of the conference contributions will be published here on a weekly basis.
If you want to get a global picture of the contributions, please visit the paperroom of the conference. Once a first draft of a paper is available, you’ll find a short notice here and on social media. All draft versions shall be ready for download by November 1, 2017.