New York University

Posts by authors affiliated with New York University

27 February 2024
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Understanding European Border Management

This contribution highlights how European border management disrupts conventional state-centric understandings thereof, while fostering impunity for human rights violations in its enforcement. EU borders are increasingly controlled in a supranational fashion by a panoply of different actors with different legal mandates and obligations, expanding within and beyond the physical frontiers of Member States. In addition, new technologies and the political turn to the logic of ‘crisis governance’ are contributing to changing the traditional practice of border controls, with a multiplicy of actors being involved in a complex dynamic of securitization. The actors, practices and the legal framework governing European border controls are rapidly changing; yet underlying linear and territorial assumptions and liability regimes remain unchanged perpetuating serious human rights shortcomings.

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26 February 2024

Rethinking the Law and Politics of Migration

2023 was, to put it mildly, a terrible year for (im)migrants and their human rights. With the declared end of the Covid pandemic came an end to the exceptional border policies it had led to which had further restricted already weakened migrants’ rights. Yet governments have largely chosen to replace them with legal frameworks that incorporated many of the same rights negating policies and ideas- except for this time they put them on a permanent legal basis. Liberated from their initial emergency rationales, asylum bans have now joined outsourcing and overpopulated mass detention camps as standard methods of migration governance. What is the role of legal scholarship and discourse at a time where governments seem increasingly comfortable to eschew many long-standing legal rules and norms, often with majority support?

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20 February 2024
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Towards a Digital Constitution

The DSA exemplifies the EU's efforts to create a fairer, more responsible digital environment. Through the DSA, the EU appears to be advancing a process of constitutionalisation of Internet governance, as an important milestone in the evolving landscape of “digital constitutionalism”, aiming to establish a unified framework of rights, principles, and governance norms for the digital space, while also contributing to the development of new governance structures and regulatory bodies dedicated to effectively safeguarding fundamental rights online.

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19 February 2024

Trump’s Trials for Democracy

It is hard to imagine a stable democracy having to confront the legal challenges presented by Donald Trump’s bid for reelection.  Courts have found him to be responsible for sexual assault, defamation and fraud, all in relatively quick succession. Taken together with repeated acts of demagogy and cruelty, the various legal proceedings reinforce the sense that Trump simply does not belong within the bounds of legitimate democratic contestation. But the charges against him thus far are civil claims that have no formal bearing on his bid for office. Nor do they seem to affect public opinion as the polarized electoral environment has little intermediate play that might be swayed by scandal, legal condemnation, or even the sense that enough is enough.

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09 February 2024

UNRWA as Sui Generis

Since UNRWA preemptively disclosed Israel’s claim to have evidence that 12 UNRWA employees participated in the 7 October 2023 attacks, at least 16 donor states and the European Union, which collectively supply the vast majority of the Agency’s budget, have suspended their contributions. This poses an existential threat to UNRWA, the largest provider of humanitarian assistance in Gaza. This post explains how the current episode displays the unsatisfactory sui generis status of UNRWA’s Palestinian staff, and forms part of an ongoing and largely successful attempt to position UNRWA as a compromised, sui generis UN organisation which constitutes an outlier in the law and practice of the United Nations.

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30 January 2024

Shielding Frontex 2.0

In Hamoudi v Frontex, the General Court dismissed another action that could have clarified if, when, and how independent or joint human rights responsibility would arise when Frontex is engaged in shared operational conduct with the Member States. This time not on the basis of an obscure re-interpretation of the Applicant’s claim, but instead, on the basis of an unattainably high and unrealistic burden, standard and method of proof. In doing so, the General Court again eschews from clarifying the nature, conditions and consequences of both independent and joint human rights responsibility of Frontex. Taken together, these cases raise the question whether there are any viable forms of judicial recourse for fundamental rights violations committed or contributed to by the EU’s Border and Coastguard Agency.

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15 November 2023

Biden, Bletchley, and the emerging international law of AI

Everyone talks about AI at the moment. Biden issues an Executive Order while the EU hammers out its AI Act, and world and tech leaders meet in the UK to discuss AI. The significance of Biden’s Executive Order can therefore only be understood when taking a step back and considering the growing global AI regulatory landscape. In this blogpost, I argue that an international law of AI is slowly starting to emerge, pushing countries to adopt their own position on this technology in the international regulatory arena, before others do so for them. Biden’s Executive Order should hence be read with exactly this purpose in mind.

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02 October 2023
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The Comeback of the Mixed Chamber

Three years ago, in the wake of the Weiss judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court, we proposed the creation of a “Mixed Chamber” in the Court of Justice of the European Union, to rule in last instance on judicial disputes on points of Union competence. The rationale of a Chamber so composed is not obvious. After all, in a Union in which EU Law has primacy over national law, in which the autonomy of EU law is all-pervasive and where the Court of Justice is the ultimate interpreter of EU law, why should a Mixed Chamber be needed? We believe there are at least three good reasons that make a Mixed Chamber as salient as ever.

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01 October 2023

Europe’s Faustian Bargain

On Thursday, news broke that the German government had agreed to incorporating the previously rejected Crisis Regulation into the EU’s new asylum and migration pact. The decision was a radical change of course since Germany had previously consistently opposed its inclusion. Framed as allowing for more ‘flexibility’ in case of migratory surges, the Crisis Regulation’s adoption will, in effect, suspend the EU asylum system as we know it for the time being, given that recorded sea arrivals are currently nearing the 2015 levels. A crisis in need of regulation, if you will. In this blogpost, I highlight the dangerous fallacy that underpins our tolerance for the illegality that has come to characterize contemporary border control. In particular, our failure to oppose the constant expansion of the limits of the law that occurs in the name of crisis and political necessity rests on the mistaken assumption that we have nothing to lose in this race to the bottom. 

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28 June 2023
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Saifan and the Weaponization of Trade Secrets

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has been convening to discuss the regulation of spyware in response to the on-going fall-out over the Israeli police’s use of the spyware Pegasus (“Saifan” in its local iteration) to surveil Israeli citizens, including political activists. Public debate has chiefly focused on the question of legal authority surrounding police surveillance but has generally failed to recognize the underlying cooptative dynamics of governmental technology procurement. In this post, we detail the contested legal grounds on which the Israeli police and Ministry of Justice rely for spyware authorization as well as an analysis of the government procurement of surveillance technology, with particular emphasis on the weaponization of trade secrets in the service of strategic concealment of governmental operations. We argue that the combination of outdated laws with nontransparent operations make public accountability and oversight intensely difficult.

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24 May 2023

Disney v. DeSantis Creates Strange Bedfellows

On April 26, 2023, Disney escalated its public feud with Ron DeSantis, Florida’s current Governor and a 2024 presidential hopeful, by suing him in federal court. The complaint turns on a series of legislative actions DeSantis took in response to Disney's criticism of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill he championed. The context in which the case has arisen allows the corporation to frame itself a brave defender of LGBTQAI+ rights. In reality though, Disney is no liberal darling and its constitutional complaint opens the door to buttress and expand a conservative reading of several constitutional provisions.

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20 March 2023
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Integration and Disintegration

In our analysis below, we examine the convergent and divergent paths of Ireland and the UK on the theme of integration and disintegration in three stages. The first considers the constitutional context and framework within which each of the two countries chose to embark on the path of European integration by acceding to the EEC in the early 1970s. The second examines several key policy choices made by the two states along a continuum between integration and disintegration, as part of a more differentiated, post-Maastricht EU. The final stage examines the implications of Brexit for the UK and Ireland following Britain’s departure from the EU.

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10 March 2023

Shamima Begum’s Banishment is a Threat to Us All

Two weeks ago, the British Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) rejected Shamima Begum’s appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision to deprive her of citizenship, dealing the latest blow in her on-going battle to regain her status. SIAC’s choice to uphold the Home Secretary’s deprivation decision is not just blatantly unjust, unfairly punishing a victim of child trafficking, but also indicates a dangerous decline in the UK’s commitment to the rule of law.

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21 February 2023
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Israel’s New Citizenship Deprivation-Deportation Pipeline

Buried in the news on the Israeli Knesset’s judicial reform plans are two bills that substantially increase the government’s power to deprive citizenship and subsequently deport Palestinian citizens convicted of terrorism offences and their family members.  One already passed into law last Wednesday, while the one targeting their family members is still making its way through committees. In this blog post we survey and evaluate the rationales used to justify these newly assumed powers and set out why their current design is so insidious.

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01 February 2023

Israel: Cry, the Beloved Country

Israel, like many other democracies today, is a deeply polarized society. The operating principle of public discourse is typically: “Art thou for us or for our adversaries” (Joshua 5:13). It is thus telling that, in the recent eruption in response to Netanyahu’s new government plan to reform the judicial system, one sees groups whom one would have never expected on the anti-government side of the current protests.

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21 October 2022

Why a United States Supreme Court Case About Pig Farming Matters So Much

The United States Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have major implications for animal welfare, public health, the environment, and the balance between state and federal power. The case is called National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, and the Court heard oral arguments on October 11, 2022. The case concerns whether a state has the right to ban the sale of products made in ways that harm animals and public health.

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05 May 2022

Democracy Under Total War

Ukraine is engaged in an existential war for survival. One need not accept the full role of the exception from Carl Schmitt to acknowledge that the struggle to withstand a brutal assault on civilians transcends all other issues. Ukrainian constitutional law recognizes the need for exceptional powers during a state of emergency, as does every other constitutional order whether expressly or tacitly. Necessarily, a war for survival shifts authority from parliament to the executive and many of the founding principles of democracy may be suspended during the emergency, even such defining features of democracy as popular selection of the government.

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