12 August 2022
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Privacy in Peril

On Saturday, 25 June 2022, American women woke up to a different reality – one day earlier, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, five justices on the US Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. This undoing of women’s autonomy comes in part from the Dobbs majority’s failure to recognize that the right to terminate a pregnancy derives from a right to privacy. Roe and Casey recognized that reproductive freedom implicates bodily integrity and physical privacy, along with a decisional privacy interest in the critical life choices surrounding reproduction and family planning. In the space of a single day, the Dobbs Court eviscerated the freedom and the privacy rights Americans have relied on since 1973. Moreover, in an era driven by an information economy and rapidly expanding surveillance technologies, the Dobbs Court’s eradication of the right to terminate a pregnancy also severely compromises informational privacy, which involves the right to shield information from disclosure. Continue reading >>
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04 August 2022

Tesla und die Sicherheit autonomer Fahrzeuge

Im Juni 2022 hat die US-amerikanische National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) eine Untersuchung von Tesla angeordnet, die nicht weniger als 830.000 Fahrzeuge sämtlicher Produktlinien betrifft. Die Behörde ist das amerikanische Pendant zum Kraftfahrtbundesamt und unter anderem für die Sicherheit der zum Straßenverkehr zugelassenen Kraftfahrzeuge zuständig. Die Untersuchung von Tesla betrifft das von diesem Unternehmen eingesetzte Computerprogramm namens „Autopilot“. Continue reading >>
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28 Juli 2022
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Accessing Information about Abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court decision of 24 June 2022 overruled a half century of precedent supporting a constitutional right to abortion across the U.S. established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. Essentially, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization left the decision on abortion to individual states. The ruling, although astonishing, was not necessarily a surprise, after its draft had leaked a few weeks earlier. But to the surprise of many, almost immediately, Facebook and Instagram started removing posts informing about access to abortion pills, the Associated Press and Vice first reported. Continue reading >>
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07 Juli 2022

A Reckless Decision

On Thursday, 30 June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its long-awaited ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency on the final day of the Court’s term. In a 6-3 decision, the conservative-majority Court held that the EPA lacks authority to require power plants to achieve the “best system of emissions reduction,” thereby hampering the United States’ ability to tackle climate change—decades after the government first learned of the crisis.

Continue reading >>
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04 Juli 2022
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Congress shall make no law

Am 30. Juni hat der U.S. Supreme Court mit 6-zu-3-Stimmen entschieden, dass die Bundes-Umweltschutzbehörde die Betreiber von Kohlekraftwerken auf der Grundlage des Clean Air Act auch künftig nicht dazu verpflichten darf, entweder die eigene Stromproduktion zu reduzieren, in die Produktion grünen Stroms zu investieren oder Emissionszertifikate im Rahmen eines Emissionshandelssystems zu erwerben. Die Entscheidung ist nicht nur wegen ihrer potentiell verheerenden Auswirkungen auf die Effektivität des US-Klimaschutzregimes von Interesse. An ihr lässt sich auch in exemplarischer Weise studieren, wie die gegenwärtige konservative Mehrheit des Supreme Court mit dem Problem der Versteinerung der amerikanischen Bundesgesetze umgeht. Continue reading >>
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01 Juli 2022

Staatsgeheimnisse und effektiver Rechtsschutz nach 9/11

Staaten haben Geheimnisse, die sie nach ihren innerstaatlichen Rechtsvorschriften vor einer Veröffentlichung schützen. Besonders problematisch ist die Geheimhaltung, wenn sich das Verfahren um gravierende Menschenrechtsverletzungen dreht, die von staatlichen Stellen verübt worden sind. Hier kann die Geheimhaltung die justizielle Aufarbeitung staatlichen Unrechts beeinträchtigen oder gar ganz verhindern und den individuellen Anspruch auf effektiven Rechtsschutz leerlaufen lassen. Continue reading >>
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27 Juni 2022

Dobbs kills Roe

Am Freitag, den 24. Juni 2022 hat der Supreme Court der USA das Recht auf Abtreibung, wie es durch die 50 Jahre lang bestehende Rechtsprechung aus Roe v. Wade und Planned Parenthood v. Casey festgelegt war, außer Kraft gesetzt. In der Entscheidung Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization hat der Supreme Court festgestellt, dass die Verfassung kein Recht auf Abtreibung enthalte. Continue reading >>
23 Juni 2022

Tackling Discrimination in Targeted Advertising

On 21 June Meta and the US Department for Housing and Urban Development released a legal settlement that will restrict Meta’s ability to offer those clients some of its core ad-targeting products. It resolves (for now) a long-running case over discriminatory targeting of housing adverts. Meta is now prohibited from using certain targeting tools in this context, and has promised new tools to ensure more representative targeting. This US lawsuit should be a wake-up call for European regulators, reminding them that taking systemic discrimination seriously requires proactive regulatory reform and enforcement. The relevant provisions of the Digital Services Act (DSA) are largely symbolic. Continue reading >>
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19 Mai 2022

What Culture Wars Hide

The American Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) is meeting in Budapest on 19-20 May. The meeting signals that US conservatives have chosen Hungary as proof of concept for the politics they want. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is proudly illiberal and proudly politically incorrect. Having won his fourth consecutive election in April with his largest parliamentary majority yet, Orbán demonstrates to American conservatives that his brand of politics can triumph. Continue reading >>
11 Mai 2022

Law’s Fate under the US “War on Terror”

More than 20 years after the US declared “war on terror” we must assess the damage it inflicted on the core values embodied in the rule of law and the success of efforts to defend them. The fate of the rule of law — whose raison d’être is to restrain the state from abusing its power — itself depends on politics. Party control of the executive and legislature (which in turn shapes the appointment of judges) was the single most powerful determinant of responses to the numerous abuses under all four administrations since 9/11. Continue reading >>
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04 Mai 2022

Frauen ohne Privatsphäre

Das Recht auf einen Schwangerschaftsabbruch grundrechtlich zu verankern ist eine der größten Errungenschaften US-amerikanischer Verfassungsrechtsprechung. Bereits 1973 stellte der Supreme Court fest, dass das Recht auf Privatsphäre das Recht einer Frau umfasst, frei zu entscheiden, ob sie ein Kind bekommen will oder nicht. Damit erkannte das Gericht die fundamentale Verknüpfung zwischen der Identität als Frau und der Entscheidung über Reproduktion als höchstpersönliche und grundrechtsrelevante Entscheidung an. Diese Verknüpfung schickt sich der Supreme Court jetzt an zu kappen. Continue reading >>

Das Ende von Roe v. Wade

Das Magazin Politico hat einen geleakten Entscheidungsentwurf des Supreme Courts veröffentlicht, der die Abkehr vom geltenden Recht auf Abtreibungen in den USA bedeuten würde. Der mit einer konservativen Mehrheit besetzte Supreme Court würde damit die Wahlversprechen Donald Trumps und die Hoffnungen einer großen Anzahl an Republikaner*innen umsetzen und Bundesstaaten die Möglichkeit geben, Abtreibungen komplett zu verbieten. Continue reading >>
22 April 2022

Elon Musk Wants to Buy Twitter to Create a Free Speech Utopia: Now What?

The enigmatic Tesla founder Elon Musk has made a public offer to buy 100% of Twitter’s shares at approximately 138% of each share’s value. In his letter of intention submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk describes that free speech is necessary in a democratic society, and he wishes to unlock its full potential by bringing Twitter under (his) private ownership. Constitutionally this raises an interesting point: if indeed a billionaire wants to change the rules of speech on the ‘new public squares’ by acquiring a social media platform, can he – and should he be able to? Continue reading >>
09 April 2022

Justice Thomas Will Not Recuse. But Should He?

There is a growing elite and scholarly consensus (at least on the American left) that Justice Clarence Thomas “must immediately recuse himself from any cases relating to the 2020 election and its aftermath.” The demand is extraordinary, and as such, it has captured global attention. The dispute highlights some notable things about the Court, but it is the scandal that really captures attention. So far, calls for recusal have come almost exclusively from the left. Conservatives have dismissed the idea. What to make of it all? Continue reading >>
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05 April 2022
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On the Internet, No One Knows You’re a Cop

As long as police can continue to exploit the legal fiction of user “consent” to access our private communications, our privacy rights will remain just as fictional. While we’re hopeful that the courts will one-day strike this practice down as violating the Fourth Amendment, more urgent statutory protections are needed. The legislation needn’t be lengthy or complex, it’s not a nuanced question. To the contrary, what we need is a complete and categorical ban on the use of fake accounts by police, letting those who’ve been surveilled sue, and suppressing the evidence that’s obtained at trial. Continue reading >>
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30 März 2022

Rechtfertigt die Bedrohung durch den Terrorismus Migrationsbeschränkungen?

Migranten auszusperren, um das ohnehin schon sehr niedrige Terrorismusrisiko geringfügig zu senken, könnte gerechtfertigt sein, wenn die Beschränkungen nur wenige oder gar keine moralisch bedeutsamen Kosten verursachen würden. Tatsächlich aber ist es ein großes Unrecht, Migranten, die vor Unterdrückung und Krieg fliehen, auszusperren. Die Ausgrenzung fügt enormen Schaden zu, verletzt die Menschenrechte gegen ungerechte Diskriminierung und steht auch im Widerspruch zu den Konzepten der Würde, die in der modernen europäischen und internationalen Rechtsprechung eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Continue reading >>
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23 März 2022

Unmatched Levels of Sanctions Coordination

In early 2022, the European Union (EU) was quick and decisive in imposing an unprecedented set of measures against Russia. Among other things, the EU targeted the Russian Central Bank, which is an extraordinary move, given that central banks are rarely on sanctions lists. Reconciling the interests of 27 Member States is an art itself, especially in a highly sensitive policy area which continues to be dominated by individual Member State interests. Overall, the swiftness of EU measures went beyond most of our expectations. Continue reading >>
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15 März 2022

Trump’s Straussian Shyster

Emails now available to US House of Representatives’ investigators suggest that John C. Eastman, the Trump lawyer behind the failed attempt to overturn the presidential election results, knew that his activities violated the US Electoral Count Act. Eastman’s activities shed light on ideological traits of Trumpism that have received little attention from legal scholars. He and other hardcore Trump disciples have relied on a highly selective interpretation of the ideas of Leo Strauss (1899-1973), the German Jewish refugee political thinker, to justify Trump’s authoritarian proclivities. Their ideological brew continues to threaten constitutional government in the United States. Continue reading >>
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10 März 2022

Donald Trump’s Post-9/11 Presidency and the Legacy of Carl Schmitt

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration in 2016, I suggested that the president-elect might prove to be a chief executive in the mode of Carl Schmitt. Trump, though, represented something different. If the early Bush years were characterized by legal interpretations that pushed the edges of executive and sovereign power, Trump’s vision of the presidency was that of a man who had no interest in legal interpretation whatsoever. As he later said of the portion of the Constitution that spells out the details of presidential power, “I have an Article II, which allows me to do whatever I want.” Continue reading >>
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09 März 2022
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Terror, emergencies, drastic conditions and democratic constitutionalism

Constitutions establish governmental powers, but they do not in themselves confer legitimacy, let alone constitute the body politic that alone can grant legitimacy. Liberal democratic constitutions institute respect for individuals in different ways, but some lines are firmly and almost universally drawn. Torture and mutilation, however, are almost universally condemned in properly liberal societies. But when government, betraying its own duly constituted role as agent of society, turns to torture as a tool to inquire into, protect against and punish even the severest threats to itself and to individual persons, it runs up against an absolute limit of morality, decency, respect for the human person, and undermines itself. Continue reading >>
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31 Januar 2022

Die Auswirkungen von 9/11 auf die Meinungsfreiheit in den Vereinigten Staaten

In den Vereinigten Staaten waren die tatsächlichen Auswirkungen des 11. Septembers und des anschließenden "Kriegs gegen den Terror" auf die Informations- und Pressefreiheit komplex und in vielerlei Hinsicht weitaus geringer als erwartet. Tatsächlich sind die Rechte auf freie Meinungsäußerung gegenüber der Regierung in den Vereinigten Staaten nach wie vor weitgehend gewahrt; die wirklichen Konflikte und Fragen betreffen heute die Rolle privater Internetunternehmen, insbesondere der sozialen Medien, bei der Einschränkung der freien Meinungsäußerung. Continue reading >>
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The Impact of 9/11 on Freedom of Expression in the United States

In the United States the actual impact of 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terror” on speech and press freedoms has been complex, and in many ways much less than expected. In fact, free speech rights vis-à-vis the government remain largely robust in the United States; the real conflicts and issues today concern the role of private Internet companies, notably social media, in restricting free speech. Continue reading >>
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19 Januar 2022

The Death of Law and Equity

On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions governing requests for emergency stays of two rules protecting Americans from COVID 19. Both rules relied on very similar statutory language, which clearly authorized protection from threats to health. Both of them presented strikingly bad cases for emergency stays. Yet, the Court granted an emergency stay in one of these cases and denied it in the other. These decisions suggest that the Court applies judicial discretion unguided by law or traditional equitable considerations governing treatment of politically controversial regulatory cases. Continue reading >>
27 Dezember 2021

The Iron Cage of Veneration

From my perspective, the most fundamental question that Arato and Sajó are asking is precisely how committed lawyers and constitutionalists should be to particular political systems that do not, at least on the surface, offer any grounds for optimism that the next election will “vote the rascals out of office” and enable forward movement to achieving the grand aspirations of a liberal constitutional order. Paradoxically or not, one might have more hope about Hungary, Poland, Chile, Brazil, or other countries unafflicted by “veneration” of a constitutional system that, left unreformed, serves as an iron cage, a “clear and present danger” to the actual achievement of liberal constitutional aspirations. Continue reading >>
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13 Dezember 2021
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Ein hohles Versprechen

In der Zeit nach dem 11. September haben wir erlebt, dass es den Gerichten nicht gelungen ist, das Wachstum des Überwachungsstaates einzudämmen, was neue Missbräuche indirekt fördert und billigt. Diese Ausweitung des Überwachungsstaates rückt zunehmend in den Mittelpunkt des politischen Diskurses in den USA. Wir sehen neue lokale Gesetze, die einige der missbräuchlichsten Technologien verbieten und die zivile Kontrolle wieder stärken. Continue reading >>
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A Hollow Promise

Throughout the post-9/11 period, we’ve seen the courts fail to check the growth of the surveillance state, inviting and sanctioning new abuses. But we do see reason for hope. The expansion of the surveillance state is increasingly taking center stage in American political discourse. While it’s unclear if America’s political, legal, and constitutional systems will ever fully recover from the post-9/11 moment, it is clear that only mass political movement will be able to edge back us from the precipice of authoritarianism and reassert constitutional checks and the rule of law. Continue reading >>
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10 November 2021

Biden’s Vaccine-or-Test Mandate in Legal Limbo

COVID-19 vaccine, a medical marvel of the first order, has in due course become the subject first of political and then legal controversy. Several states and businesses brought suit against the Biden administration’s mandate that large employers require vaccinations or weekly testing, and a federal appeals court has issued a stay blocking the mandate. As if the stakes in this litigation weren’t high enough, the case could turn into a showdown not only over vaccination, but over the power of regulatory agencies in the United States more generally. Continue reading >>
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03 September 2021

Has the U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Overruled Roe v. Wade?

Late in the evening of September 1 the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that many critics have described as effectively overruling Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision holding that the U.S. Constitution protected a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. That description, though technically inaccurate, does capture something important about the Court’s order: It made abortions unavailable as a practical matter for many women in Texas who would have had access to abortion services had the Court issued a different order. Continue reading >>
02 September 2021

Kopfgeld gegen Abtreibungen

Seit dem 1. September 2021 sind Abtreibungen in Texas faktisch verboten – obwohl die Rechtsprechung des US Supreme Courts Abtreibungen vor der 24. Schwangerschaftswoche erlaubt und entgegenstehende Regelungen verfassungswidrig sind. Der US-Bundesstaat Texas hat ein Gesetz erlassen, das die Bürger:innen einspannen soll, um das Ziel eines faktischen Verbotes zu erreichen – mit einem Anreiz von $10.000, wenn sie die Durchführung von Abtreibungen zivilgerichtlich verhindern. Die unter dem Schlagwort Roe v. Wade zusammengefasste Rechtsprechung zum Schwangerschaftsabbruch könnte sich grundlegend verändern und die schlimmsten Befürchtungen, die nach dem Tod von Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg unter Liberalen aufkamen, wahr werden. Continue reading >>
09 Juli 2021

Normale Zeiten

Über Pandemie, Asyl, Afghanistan, Fluchthilfe, Sonnencreme und den Drang, in Ruhe gelassen zu werden Continue reading >>
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02 Juli 2021

Openers for Interpretation

On the US Supreme Court and why something needs to be done Continue reading >>

Deutungsöffner

Über den US Supreme Court und warum es so nicht weiter geht Continue reading >>
21 April 2021

The Battle Over Puerto Rico’s Future

Puerto Rico’s future is on the agenda in Congress. Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a contentious hearing on two competing bills addressing Puerto Rico’s status. Why two competing bills? Why the dramatically different alternative to the one backed by Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress? Understanding the profound divide these bills embody requires understanding the constitutional controversy that has long been at the core of Puerto Rico’s status debate – and the crisis of identity that drives it. Continue reading >>
14 April 2021

COVID-19, the United States and Evidence-Based Politics

COVID revealed the extent to which attacks on evidence-based politics are part and parcel of the right-wing populist challenge to constitutional democracy in the United States and elsewhere. Right-wing populism challenges constitutional commitments to rule of law and basic liberal freedoms, as such strongmen as Erdogan. Orban and Maduro seize control of courts and persecute dissidents. Populist responses to the pandemic in the United States raise equally important questions about the constitutional commitments to science that are as important to constitutional democracy as the rule of law. Continue reading >>
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09 April 2021

Zwischen Chefberater und freiem Meinungsmarkt

Es ist offenkundig, dass das zur Pandemiebekämpfung notwendige medizinische und epidemiologische Spezialwissen in Kernexekutiven nicht vorhanden ist und deshalb von außen dem Entscheidungsprozess zugeführt werden muss. Dies passiert in unterschiedlichen politischen Systemen auf sehr verschiedene Weise. Aber wie sehen die Beratungsstrukturen grundsätzlich aus und wie agierten sie in der Pandemiekrise der letzten 12 Monate? Diese Frage soll im folgenden aus vergleichender Perspektive mit einem Blick auf die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Großbritannien und die Vereinigten Staaten beantwortet werden. Continue reading >>
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07 April 2021

Democratizing the App Store

As of March 2021, several State bills in the United States have been launched to address the antitrust issues with the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. The two Tech Giants Apple and Google are charging software developers up to a 30 percent commission on the price of paid apps and in-app purchases. Legislators not only in the US but also in the EU aim to address the “gatekeeper” role of Big Tech, such as Amazon and Google. When attempting to democratize app stores, legislators should aim to allow small developers and startups easy access to app stores. This would both decrease prices for consumers and allow for more innovation and consumer choice. Continue reading >>
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21 Januar 2021
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Zum Glück der Vereinigten Staaten

Joseph Biden ist als neuer Präsident der USA vereidigt und Donald Trump hat das Weiße Haus verlassen. Amerikanische Gerichte wiesen die Klagen seiner Wahlkampagne auf Wahlbetrug als „substanzlos“ ab; Geschäftspartner*innen und Teile der Republikaner wanden sich in den vergangenen Wochen von ihm ab, und im Kongress ist nun – zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte der USA – ein zweites Impeachment Verfahren gegen ihn eröffnet worden. Der amerikanische Rechtsstaat und die Institutionen haben sich bewährt. Ende gut, alles gut also? Ganz so einfach ist es nicht. Continue reading >>
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18 Januar 2021

Re-impeachment

Public law accountability is the hallmark of any constitutional government worthy of the name precisely because it would be less arbitrary. But private law accountability is better than nothing. Given that we don’t know how the impeachment trial will turn out, and given that Trump’s fellow Republicans do not yet seem ready to cut themselves lose from him, private retribution may be all we have. Continue reading >>
15 Januar 2021

Press Here to Reset the System

Why removing Trump from an office he no longer holds is a good thing to do Continue reading >>
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Drücken Sie hier, um das System zurückzusetzen

Warum die Amtsenthebung von Trump auch ohne Amt geboten ist Continue reading >>
12 Januar 2021

Letzter Vorhang für @realdonaldtrump

Dem amerikanischen Präsidenten wurde mit seinem Twitter-Account die große Bühne genommen Ihre Entscheidung war angesichts der beispiellosen Eskalation der Ereignisse in Washington nicht nur rechtmäßig, sondern richtig und im Grunde überfällig. Ein Stück über Macht und soziale Medien    Continue reading >>
08 Januar 2021

The Mob

On the Trump coup, the constitution and the unity of the nation Continue reading >>
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Der Mob

Über den Trump-Putsch, die Verfassung und die Einheit der Nation Continue reading >>
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07 Januar 2021

Insurrection

President Trump is dangerous. He must be removed from office. Immediately. There are three ways to do this. Continue reading >>
04 Januar 2021

Trump’s Endgame, Part II

The handoff of power from President Donald Trump to President-Elect Joe Biden is not going well. American law currently requires a long “transitional” period of nearly three months during which a defeated American president still holds the reins of power. The length interregnum creates an opportunity for two kinds of consequential mischief. Continue reading >>
29 Dezember 2020

Failing Efforts to Delegitimize the Incoming Biden Administration

When state actors ignore evidence – or in the case of allegations of widespread election fraud, the lack of evidence – toward obtaining some political advantage, the community’s evaluation of the condition of the rule of law comes out badly. Degradation of the rule of law today leaves it in a state of disrepair tomorrow and alleviating harm to the way in which people morally appraise their legal system is not an easy fix. Continue reading >>
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19 Dezember 2020
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Facebook’s Oversight Board Just Announced Its First Cases, But It Already Needs An Overhaul

On the 1st of December, the first cases the newly constituted Facebook Oversight Board will consider were published. They underscore that the Oversight Board was never going to be a panacea for the complex problem of content moderation on a platform that hosts billions of users, but it is clear already that the Board’s governance model requires an overhaul if it is to achieve meaningful success. Continue reading >>
30 November 2020
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The Sorrows of Scraping for Science

Access to data is an overall challenge for researchers when investigating social media platforms' content moderation policies and practices. Researchers need empirical evidence to ground their arguments and public interest research. Platforms have not only not providing data, but are, in fact, further restricting access. Both platforms and governments should make an effort to improve on the availability of data for research, and, to this end, clarify the law in this space. Continue reading >>
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09 November 2020

What Happens Next?

Despite the length of time it took to determine the result, this is not a close election.  Everyone who has felt that the last four years brought American democracy perilously close to collapse should now feel relieved.   Biden’s margin of victory in the decisive states is too large to be overturned by typical recounts or by the usual toolbox of legal challenges. As I will explain in this post, however, we’re not completely out of danger yet.  Continue reading >>
06 November 2020

Die große Illusion

Über den Wahlverlierer Trump, Spannungsbögen und den Unterschied zwischen einem Punkt und einem Strich Continue reading >>
05 November 2020
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Corona Constitutional, Folge #50: Warum Trump klagt

Die Wahl in den USA ist gelaufen, und es sieht doch eigentlich nicht schlecht aus für Joe Biden und seine Chancen, Donald Trump aus dem Weißen Haus zu vertreiben. Sollte man meinen. Aber neben diesem Wahlauszählungs-Spektakel läuft parallel noch eine ganz andere Partie, von der man nicht so viel mitbekommt, eine juristische nämlich, und die könnte es sein, die am Ende über Sieg und Niederlage entscheidet. Worum es in diesen Gerichtsverfahren geht, welche Strategie dahintersteckt und was das alles für die demokratische Verfassung im ältesten und größten demokratischen Verfassungsstaat bedeutet, darüber rede ich heute mit der Anwältin ANJA VON ROSENSTIEL, die in Boston lebt und in den letzten Monaten im Wahlkampfteam von Joe Biden mitgearbeitet hat und dieses juristische Spiel, das die Republikaner im Augenblick treiben, aus der Nähe verfolgt. Continue reading >>
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What Just Happened?   

The American electorate seems to have spoken and it seems to have rejected President Trump.  But the there is still the possibility of mischief if Trump succeeds in using the law to thwart the election results.  The US constitutional system with its strange and unique system for selecting a president is just rickety enough to make it possible for Trump to litigate his way out of an election loss. Continue reading >>
03 November 2020

Rule of Judges, Rule over Judges, Rule by Judges

There are numerous reasons why people feel anxious about the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump seems more than willing to use the tools at hand to manipulate the democratic game to his own advantage and to use the law and courts to impact the election, to manipulate the democratic game, and to extend Trump’s political power beyond the 2020 presidential election. Judicial intervention has, however, a self-defeating potential in terms of legitimacy. Outlined here is the clash between democracy and juristocracy, and the potential it holds for a latent autocracy. Continue reading >>
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Stabilizing the US Judiciary by Threatening to Pack It

Reforming the judicial appointment process in the US will take a constitutional amendment. Without it, reform attempts are likely to fail. For conservatives especially, altering the courts now, after securing a very conservative majority unprecedented in recent history, will seem unappealing. They may (perhaps correctly) conclude that, given their systematic advantages in the Senate and therefore electoral college, endless escalation is a game they may be able to win. This blog post proposes a simple mechanism that aims to force a stabilizing constitutional amendment forward while preserving the option to escalate if they cannot secure cooperation from the Republican party. Continue reading >>
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Confronting Misinformation During A Pandemic

A new report by The Freedom House tracks recent developments in internet-freedom and presents the “Pandemic’s Digital Shadow” on democratic values around the world. The report explains how governments worldwide used the covid-19 pandemic to limit access to information, expand their surveillance efforts, and intensify the balkanization of the internet. It raises the question what democracies should, and should not, do to confront the perils of misinformation. Continue reading >>
01 November 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court and the 2020 Election

As Election Day looms, Americans are heading to the polls, and they are also heading to the courts. In the past two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings in five challenges to election-related practices in different states, and there are surely more to come. The litigation has exposed disagreements on the high court, and on lower courts as well, about where responsibility lies for ensuring elections play out fairly and in accordance with law. Of all of the opinions flying around, the one to get the most attention is perhaps a concurrence from Justice Kavanaugh that invokes Bush v. Gore, in which the Court stopped a recount in Florida and thereby decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Continue reading >>
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31 Oktober 2020

On Publishers, Carriers, and Bookstores

The next American election is just days away, so you’d think that most American politicians would be focusing on campaigning either for their own election (or re-election) or for their colleagues and allies who are running now to attain or retain elective office. But not this week. Weirdly enough, the United States Senate took time off from campaigning—even though the official election date is next Tuesday, and millions of American voters are voting in advance of the election or have already voted—to host a hearing whose nominal purpose was to discuss whether a formerly obscure but now hotly disputed statute known as “Section 230,” which plays a central role in limiting legal liability for internet services, needs to be updated. Continue reading >>
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26 Oktober 2020

Dark Money Subverts the Rule of Law

During the recently completed United States Senate committee hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee for a seat on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island used his time to try to demonstrate how right-wing groups, including the Federalist Society and Judicial Crisis Network, use dark money to shape the American judiciary. A common reaction, certainly on the part of those continually disadvantaged on the policy side, is that massive dark money investment in the legal system’s actors and outcomes subverts the rule of law. Although ordinary citizens, informed commentators, and political representatives make this claim, theorists have paid scant attention to explaining why this might be so. This omission is likely rooted in the sort of concept theorists think the rule of law is. Continue reading >>
15 Oktober 2020
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‘Keyword Warrants’ Make Every Search A Risk

How many times did you search google today? Few of us know the answer. It’s not just the queries entered into the ubiquitous google search bars, but the countless other apps in the Google ecosystem, constantly harvesting our every question to refine their picture of even the most intimate spheres of our life. In the hands of advertisers, this technology is creepy. But when it is fully exploited by law enforcement agencies, it can be a profound danger to civil society and human rights. Continue reading >>
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Mitch McConnell, The Supreme Court, and The Specter of Politicization

There is no doubt that the Senate Majority Leader is a hypocrite. His bad faith, however, may have a cathartic effect on judicial appointments. Continue reading >>
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12 Oktober 2020
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Kein rechtsfreier Raum

In einem Brief vom 5. August dieses Jahres drohten die US-Senatoren Cruz, Cotton und Johnson der Fährhafen Sassnitz GmbH mit nichts anderem, als der totalen wirtschaftlichen Zerstörung. Der Grund für diesen Einschüchterungsversuch: hier werden russische Rohrverlegungsschiffe für das Erdgas-Pipeline-Projekt Nord Stream 2 umgebaut und so für die Fertigstellung des Projekts vorbereitet. Die Rechtmäßigkeit der angedrohten extraterritorialen Sanktionen ist völkerrechtlich umstritten. Deshalb hat der wissenschaftliche Dienst des Bundestages am 8. September eine Ausarbeitung veröffentlicht, die überprüfen soll, ob solche Maßnahmen völkerrechtskonform sind. Die Argumentation des wissenschaftlichen Dienstes überzeugt dabei jedoch weder auf der Ebene des Allgemeinen Völkerrechts, noch auf der des Völkervertragsrechts. Continue reading >>
28 September 2020

What did Amy Coney Barrett say?

Very soon Trump’s new pick for the US Supreme Court will be grilled by Democratic senators about her conservative views on abortion and the Affordable Care Act. They are rightly worried that her appointment will put in place a 6-3 majority of rightwing judges on the Court, especially in the wake of Trump’s explicit disappointment at the fact that even his picks have on a couple of occasions voted against positions he favoured. What assurance does he think he has that this pick will be more compliant, a ‘loyal’ ‘Trump judge’? In February, Justice Barrett gave a comment at an event in London. It would be a great pity in the hearings if the senators did not ask what she said. Continue reading >>

Justice Unlimited

The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her replacement by Judge Amy Coney Barrett has led to a spike in interest in imposing term limits for Supreme Court justices. The proposals now on the table are for doing so by statute because amending the U.S. Constitution is so difficult. They face constitutional and political obstacles, which in combination make their adoption unlikely. Continue reading >>
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03 September 2020
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Corona Constitutional #47: Eine epische Schlacht

Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google – dass diese vier Konzerne ein Maß an Macht auf sich konzentrieren, das nicht nur wirtschaftlich, sondern auch politisch ein Riesenproblem ist, wissen wir längst. Ihnen gehören die Plattformen, die wir jeden Tag benutzen – oder benutzen müssen, weil sie der öffentliche Raum sind, in dem wir uns bewegen und kommunizieren. Der Gaming-Konzern Epic stellt die Monopolstellung und Beherrschung dieses Raums durch wenige private Konzerne nun durch eine Klage in Frage. Was da passiert, was dabei auf dem Spiel steht und welche Rolle das Kartellrecht dabei spielt, das diskutiert Max Steinbeis mit Nikolas Guggenberger, Experte in den Bereichen der Schnittstellen von Recht und Technologie. Continue reading >>
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02 September 2020

The Epic Battle for the Soul of Antitrust

Antitrust is back in the United States, and Big Tech might soon feel it. In July, the House Subcommittee Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law summoned the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook to a hearing. With Epic Games, Inc.’s (Epic) complaint against the app store operators Apple and Google, the core of the present antitrust debate has squarely reached the federal courts in the U.S.: what are the legal limits of Big Tech’s monopoly power? Continue reading >>
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27 August 2020

Why Proceduralism Won’t Save Us from Trump

Can procedural rules rein in the Trump Administration? Many people got their hopes up that they can and will, especially after the United States Supreme Court announced its decision on the DACA rescission. Trump's Department of Homeland Security, however, has announced that it intends to begin dismantling DACA yet again. Continue reading >>
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16 August 2020

Weaponizing the Post Office

In our pandemic-addled moment, many once-normal activities are now considered dangerous. Hugging hello. Teaching in a classroom. Attending a concert. Having friends over to our homes. And now in the US, we have something else to add to the list of once-normal things that are risky in the pandemic: Voting by mail. Continue reading >>
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30 Juli 2020

The Walk After Bostock

The judgment of the U.S Supreme Court in Bostock v Clayton Country, is a landmark decision in protecting members of the LGBTQ community from employment discrimination on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Nevertheless, there are hurdles in the implementation of this judgment, particularly in relation with the right to religious liberty and the right to association under the First Amendment to the U.S Constitution. Continue reading >>
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23 Juli 2020

Black Lives and German Exceptionalism

Racism is not limited to anti-blackness nor restricted to the context of policing; however, I use policing and blackness as touchstones for this commentary precisely because this constellation of race and law is consistently thought to present a problem exceptional to the United States. It is not. This article examines the case of police brutality. The nature of policing, not only in the United States but in many places in the world, and certainly in Europe, is such that holding police to account for the deaths of innocent people is not only statistically improbable, but it is designed to be legally impractical. Continue reading >>

„Rasse“ im Parlamentarischen Rat und die Dynamik der Gleichheitsidee seit 1776 (Teil IV)

Es gibt keine „Rassen“ im biologischen Sinn. Rasse bleibt aber wichtig, weil und solange sie als gesellschaftliche Zuschreibung weiter die Wirklichkeit prägt. Den Begriff der Rasse im Grundgesetz zu streichen, ist nicht nur entbehrlich, sondern riskiert, den verfassungsrechtlichen Diskriminierungsschutz zu schwächen, statt ihn zu stärken. Das soll in diesem fünfteiligen Beitrag näher begründet werden, dessen erste drei Teile bereits erschienen sind (vgl. Teile I, II und III) und dessen letzter Teil morgen erscheinen wird (vgl. dann Teil V). Continue reading >>
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22 Juli 2020

„Rasse“ im Parlamentarischen Rat und die Dynamik der Gleichheitsidee seit 1776 (Teil III)

Es gibt keine „Rassen“ im biologischen Sinn. Rasse bleibt aber wichtig, weil und solange sie als gesellschaftliche Zuschreibung weiter die Wirklichkeit prägt. Den Begriff der Rasse im Grundgesetz zu streichen, ist nicht nur entbehrlich, sondern riskiert, den verfassungsrechtlichen Diskriminierungsschutz zu schwächen, statt ihn zu stärken. Das soll in diesem fünfteiligen Beitrag näher begründet werden, dessen erste zwei Teile bereits erschienen sind und dessen zwei weitere Teile in den nächsten Tagen erscheinen werden. Continue reading >>
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21 Juli 2020

„Rasse“ im Parlamentarischen Rat und die Dynamik der Gleichheitsidee seit 1776 (Teil II)

Es gibt keine „Rassen“ im biologischen Sinn. Rasse bleibt aber wichtig, weil und solange sie als gesellschaftliche Zuschreibung weiter die Wirklichkeit prägt. Den Begriff der Rasse im Grundgesetz zu streichen, ist nicht nur entbehrlich, sondern riskiert, den verfassungsrechtlichen Diskriminierungsschutz zu schwächen, statt ihn zu stärken. Das soll in diesem fünfteiligen Beitrag näher begründet werden, dessen erster Teil gestern erschienen ist und dessen weitere Teile in den nächsten Tagen erscheinen werden. Continue reading >>
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13 Juli 2020

Are They All Textualists Now?

Das Bostock-Urteil des US Supreme Court, ein bahnbrechender Erfolg für die LGBTQ-Gleichheit am Arbeitsplatz, stützt sich auf den Textualismus von Scalia. Sind am U.S. Supreme Court jetzt also alle Textualisten? Und was verheißt das für die Zukunft? Continue reading >>
11 Juli 2020
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Court-Packing, Judicial Independence, and Populism

Should the US Supreme Court be reformed? Many advocate for the introduction of term limits and/or other reforms. The new “court reform” movement is interesting no matter what its actual prospects are because it seems – but we think only seems – to fall within a broad category of challenges to constitutional courts brought by populists around the world. Continue reading >>
01 Juli 2020

SCOTUS Aids Trump’s Drive to Autocracy

The United States Supreme Court just took a big step in that authoritarian direction in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in a 5-4 decision. In that case, the Supreme Court created a constitutional rule that the President has the right to fire high executive branch officials for political reasons. Continue reading >>
30 Juni 2020
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Corona Constitutional #39: Stare Decisis

Gestern hat der US Supreme Court ein Gesetz gekippt, das eine Abtreibung im Bundesstaat Louisiana nahezu unmöglich gemacht hätte. Die entscheidende Stimme kam von Chief Justice Roberts, einem erzkonservativen Abtreibungsgegner. Während sich Liberale erfreut die Augen reiben und das Weiße Haus ein “unglückliches Urteil” beklagt, wird STEPHEN F. ROSS von der Penn State Law School misstrauisch: Könnte es sein, dass Trumps scheinbarer Rückschlag eigentlich ein Wahlkampfgeschenk ist — in Abtreibungsdebatte verpackt und mit verfassungsrechtlichem Schleifchen verziert? Diese These bespricht er im heutigen Podcast-Interview mit Max Steinbeis. Continue reading >>
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Eine Roadmap für ein restriktives Abtreibungs­gesetz

Mit einer knappen Entscheidung hat der US Supreme Court ein Gesetz aus Louisiana, welches den Zugang zu Abtreibung stark beschränkte, für verfassungswidrig erklärt. Die Entscheidung wurde mit Spannung erwartet, da sie die erste zum Kampfthema Abtreibungsrecht war, seit unter Präsident Trump konservative Richter die Mehrheit am Supreme Court stellen – und dies obendrein im entscheidenden Wahljahr 2020. Zwar ist das Gesetz aus Louisiana nun obsolet, aber ob das Urteil als Sieg für die liberale pro-choice-Bewegung zu bewerten ist, steht auf einem anderen Blatt. Continue reading >>
28 Juni 2020

Faithless Electors

As the U.S. Supreme Court term draws to a close, one set of eagerly watched cases could have potential implications for the upcoming presidential election in the United States. The Court is poised to decide two cases that involve so-called “faithless” electors. Electors are the people whose votes select the President of the United States, and the electors in these cases refused to cast their votes for the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in their home states. Continue reading >>
19 Juni 2020

Arbitrary and capricious

On dreamers, Trump, the US Supreme Court and the difference between a Rechtsstaat and an authoritarian regime. Continue reading >>
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Willkürlich und launenhaft

Über Dreamer, Trump, den US Supreme Court und den Unterschied zwischen einem Rechtsstaat und einem autoritärem Regime. Continue reading >>
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17 Juni 2020

Workplace Pride

The United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton Countyon 15 June 2020 with major implications for 8,1 million LGBTQ+ workers (1 million of which transgender individuals), that now enjoy protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This contribution delves into the Court’s decision and its consequences, and also discusses its past key LGBTQ+ related rulings that have brought much-needed equality for the LGBTQ+ community in the last 20 years. Continue reading >>
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10 Juni 2020

Liberal Censorship

The clash between Trump and Twitter epitomises a new dynamic that raises important questions and dilemmas for the liberal order: the dilemma of liberal censorship. Continue reading >>
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05 Juni 2020

Quis furor, o cives…

On civil rights, civil war and why one should beware of false associations looking at Minneapolis. Continue reading >>
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Quis furor, o cives…

Über Bürgerrechte, Bürgerkriege und warum man sich mit Blick auf Minneapolis vor falschen Assoziationen hüten sollte. Continue reading >>
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04 Juni 2020
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Corona Constitutional #32: Is the Reichstag burning?

Droht in den USA der Bürgerkrieg? Während die Gewalt in den Großstädten eskaliert, ließ sich der Präsident mit erhobener Bibel vor einer ausgebrannten Kirche fotografieren. Den Weg durch die demonstrierende Menschenmenge hat ihm die Polizei zuvor mit Tränengas freigeschossen. Die düsteren Assoziationen, die diese Bilder bei RALF MICHAELS hervorriefen, bespricht der Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht im heutigen Podcast mit Max Steinbeis. Continue reading >>
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In Praise of Uncertainty

The Bundesverfassungsgericht's PSPP decision will have immense consequences. I have no reason to doubt the alarm raised by so many informed and respected commentators. But here’s one small thing that has been lost in the debate so far. The Court’s decision to go its own way on a question of European law might be seen as evidence of the influence of the common law tradition in the European legal system. That’s no bad thing, and it’s probably unavoidable in any case. Continue reading >>
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30 Mai 2020

Trump vs. Twitter

Donald Trump is among the world’s most famous and prolific Twitter brawlers, picking fights — while the sitting President of the United States — with, among others, Greta Thunberg, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, and his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Now he finds himself in a fight with Twitter itself, and he is bringing the power of his high office to bear. After Twitter began flagging tweets from the President under a new fact-checking policy, Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) that threatens actions against platforms engaged in “Online Censorship.” The legal effects of the President’s action are likely to be limited. The broader political effects are harder to gauge. Continue reading >>
26 Mai 2020

COVID-19: Walking the Tightrope of Vaccination Obligations

Normally, outside states of public health emergency, many countries employ some type of vaccination coercion scheme to encourage uptake. The range of possible measures, including monetary incentives, social exclusion, fines, and criminal penalties, fall on a spectrum from voluntary to strictly mandatory. Given the power and efficacy of vaccinations, many nations have adopted varying approaches to compelling vaccination against emergent public health threats. Specifically, this article examines the legal and historical orientation of mandatory vaccination in the US and Germany. Continue reading >>
12 Mai 2020

A Risky Gamble

There may never have been an idea whose time has so obviously come than mail-in voting in the COVID-19 era. However, a major risk confronting the nation as it scrambles at the last minute to move from primarily in-person to primarily mail-in is the risk of leaving logistical and legal details open to political manipulation in highly unpredictable fashion. Continue reading >>
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24 April 2020

It’s not about Bathroom Policies, it’s about Constitutional Principles

The United States Supreme Court is expected to soon deliver its judgment in the first transgender rights case before it. In the absence of federal laws protecting transgender persons from discrimination, the case revolves around the question whether the prohibition of discrimination ‘because of … sex’ transgender discrimination. The US Supreme Court appears to turn this into a question of political deliberation, bathroom policies and dress codes. The ECJ, on the other hand, instead of getting lost in policy discussions, has already in 1996 recognized the protection of transgender persons against discrimination based on the core constitutional principle of equality. The ECJ’s approach does in fact have a foothold under US case law and the US Supreme Court could seize the opportunity to bring transgender persons closer to enjoying the same rights as the general population. Continue reading >>
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22 April 2020
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Corona Constitutional #14: Chaos, und wem es nützt

Heute geht es um Wahlen, genauer um Wahlen in den USA, wo sich im November herausstellen wird, ob Donald Trump eine zweite Amtszeit bekommt. Wahlen in der Coronakrise, das ist auch anderenorts ein außerordentlich haariges Thema, und in Amerika ganz besonders: Im Bundesstaat Wisconsin haben die Demokraten kürzlich ihre Vorwahlen abgehalten. In den Streit darüber, wie diese Wahlen ablaufen sollen, hat sich der Supreme Court eingeschaltet, und zwar auf eine Weise, die bei vielen den ohnehin schon vorhandenen Zweifel daran, dass das oberste Gericht politisch unparteiisch unterwegs ist, noch mal massiv verstärkt hat. Was es mit diesen Zweifeln auf sich hat und was das für die Präsidentschaftswahl bedeuten könnte, darüber spricht Max Steinbeis mit DAVID DRIESEN, Professor an der Syracuse University im Bundesstaat New York. Continue reading >>
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The US Supreme Court’s Activism in the Wisconsin Election

United States lawyers may wonder whether President Trump has captured its Supreme Court. One day before a presidential primary and local election in Wisconsin, the Court intervened in an extraordinary way to add a new voting restriction. The decision in Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee provides further evidence that the Court has abandoned its high court role in favor of unusual partisan interventions to effectuate results found congenial by its Republican majority. Furthermore, a Court usually sensitive to national security concerns reached its judgment about the Wisconsin election without taking the threat the coronavirus poses to democratic processes seriously. Continue reading >>
20 April 2020

Schmittian Instincts at Odds with Neoliberalism

Carl Schmitt is now regularly referenced in discussions of President Trump’s extraordinary and probably unprecedented claims to unchecked executive power. The President’s knee-jerk hostility to the administrative state, however, has helped spare Americans the worst consequences of his Schmittian legal instincts. Yet that hostility has come with its own high price. Continue reading >>
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04 April 2020

Schmitten in the USA

We will at some point surface from the current public health crisis. How and when and what the new normal will look like, no one knows. But we do know that autocrats around the world are using the epidemic as a pretext to gather even more power unto themselves. In this light, the fact that a Harvard Law Professor has published an article at this time with this kind of viral load in the pages of a respectable journal is perhaps more scary than the virus itself. Continue reading >>
27 März 2020

Föderale Verwirrung im US-amerikanischen Katastrophen­schutz unter dem Stafford Act

Am 13. März erklärte der US-Präsidenten Donald Trump nach langem Zögern den Nationalen Notstand („national emergency“). Verwirrung stiftete am Wochenende nach der Erklärung des Nationalen Notstands eine den Stafford Act betreffende Falschmeldung. Dass sie sich so rasant in den sozialen Medien verbreiten konnte, dürfte zum einen daran liegen, dass der Stafford Act nur wenig bekannt ist und zum anderen eine Vielzahl an unklaren Regelungen enthält. Deutschland und Europa können aus diesem Intermezzo zumindest lernen, wie man den Katastrophenschutz in föderal organisierten Systemen nicht ausgestalten sollte. Continue reading >>
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09 Februar 2020
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„Trump ist nicht das Problem, sondern nur ein Symptom“

Das Impeachment-Verfahren gegen Donald Trump, warum es scheitern musste und welche Schäden es hinterlässt: ein Interview mit Mattias Kumm. Continue reading >>
07 Februar 2020

This is not a drill

On Thuringia, the US, Poland, Europe and some extremely odd practices in academic publishing. Continue reading >>

Das ist kein Probealarm

Über Thüringen, USA, Polen, Europa und die sonderbaren Praktiken im Wissenschafts-Verlagsbusiness. Continue reading >>
17 Januar 2020
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Ausgangspunkt ist das Gewaltverbot, nicht die Rechtfertigung

Das Gewaltverbot, ein Grundpfeiler des Völkerrechts, verbietet grundsätzlich die Anwendung von Gewalt gegen einen anderen Staat. Es ist zwingendes Recht. Nur ausnahmsweise ist der Einsatz von Gewalt gerechtfertigt. Schon aus diesem Grundsatz-Ausnahme-Verhältnis folgt, dass die USA die Gründe für eine Rechtfertigung selbst vorbringen müssten. Der bisherige Begründungsansatz der USA vermag diese Verstöße jedoch nicht hinreichend zu rechtfertigen. Continue reading >>
08 Januar 2020

Ramstein: Deutschlands Mitverantwortung für völkerrechts­widrige Drohnenangriffe

Nach der Tötung des iranischen Generals Qassem Soleimani am 3. Januar 2020 bei einer Reise in den Irak debattiert die Völkerrechtswissenschaft darüber, ob die Tötung rechtlich zulässig war und kommt recht einhellig zu dem Schluss, dass dies nicht der Fall war. Was bislang in der Debatte wenig erörtert wurde: Die Exekution wäre ohne deutsche Unterstützung nicht möglich gewesen. Kampfdrohnen wie die MQ-9 Reaper, die Soleimani tötete, werden über die US-Militärbasis Ramstein in Rheinland-Pfalz koordiniert. Deutschland muss seine Mitverantwortung für die Drohnentoten im “Krieg gegen den Terror” dringend politisch und juristisch klären. Continue reading >>
05 Januar 2020

Die Tötung von Qassem Soleimani

Die Tötung des hochrangigen iranischen Generals Qassem Soleimani hält die Welt in Atem. Die völkerrechtliche Rechtslage ist einerseits nicht sonderlich komplex, wobei der Fall andererseits dazu angetan ist, Zweifel ob der Leistungsfähigkeit der völkerrechtlichen Regeln weiter zu befeuern und sich Sorgen über die Entwicklung des Völkerrechts zu machen. Vor allem aber unterstreicht er die Besonderheiten des US-amerikanischen Verfassungsrechts, welches mit seiner starken Fokussierung auf die Entscheidungsbefugnis einer einzelnen Person, des US-Präsidenten, kaum in der Lage ist, wirksame „checks and balances“ für den tödlichen Einsatz bewaffneter Gewalt im Ausland zu setzen. Continue reading >>
19 November 2019

The Quest for Trump’s Taxes Heads to the Supreme Court

Donald J. Trump is an open book in many respects, but not when it comes to his federal income taxes. Every major party presidential candidate since 1976 has released his tax returns, and candidate Trump pledged that he would do so as well – yet the promised Form 1040 has not been forthcoming. It remains to be seen, however, whether President Trump can keep his tax returns under wraps in the face of a number of efforts to uncover them currently wending their way through U.S. courts. Continue reading >>
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14 Oktober 2019

Trumps Supreme Court und der Schwanger­schafts­abbruch

Mit der Ernennung des umstrittenen Richters Kavanaugh hat US-Präsident Trump am US Supreme Court eine dauerhafte konservative Mehrheit installiert. Anfang Oktober hat der Supreme Court den Fall June Medical v. Gee zur Entscheidung angenommen. Der Fall aus Louisiana könnte mitten im Wahljahr eine Kehrtwende in der Rechtsprechung des Supreme Courts zu Schwangerschaftsabbrüchen einleiten. Continue reading >>
09 Oktober 2019

Impeachment und Corruption

Der Streit um die Amtsenthebung von US-Präsident Trump ist politisch, aber er verläuft nicht völlig maßstabslos. Er wird in einer „constitutional language“ geführt, die Jahrhunderte zurückgeht. Die Abwehr von „corruption“ beschäftigt die amerikanische Republik seit ihrer Entstehung. Continue reading >>
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28 September 2019

Impeaching a President: how it works, and what to expect from it

Metaphors abound in discussing how dramatically the issue of presidential impeachment has become central in U.S. political discourse: a simmering kettle boiled over, the Whistle Blower blew the lid off efforts to conceal scandalous (almost treasonous) presidential behavior. And everyone notes that what has been revealed is almost certainly matched by information that will come out sooner rather than later. It’s not possible to summarize the state of play because relevant events occur almost hourly. Here I’ll offer a primer on presidential impeachment in the United States for readers who might not be familiar with the basics, then offer some comments about presidential impeachment in comparative constitutional law. Continue reading >>
12 September 2019

Acquiescing in Refoulement

The judgment of the US Supreme Court issued on Wednesday (Attorney General v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant) purports to be simply procedural: It overturns a lower court injunction that prevented President Trump’s unilateral “safe third country” rule from coming into force before its legality is tested on the merits. But in truth, the Supreme Court knowingly acquiesced in the refoulement of refugees arriving at the US southern border. Continue reading >>
02 September 2019

König Midas, Hauptmann Kettensäge und die Mittel des Völkerrechts zum Schutz der Biodiversität

Spätestens seit der Veröffentlichung des UN Global Assessment Report im Mai 2019 wissen wir, dass etwa eine Million der insgesamt acht Millionen Arten vom Aussterben bedroht sind – mehr als jemals zuvor in der Geschichte unseres Planeten. Das sechste globale Massensterben von Tieren und Pflanzen erfordert ein konzertiertes Vorgehen der internationalen Staatengemeinschaft. Doch nationale Alleingänge, wie des US-Präsidenten Trump und seines brasilianischen Amtskollegen Bolsonaro, nehmen zugunsten der heimischen Wirtschaft unwiederbringliche Verluste der Artenvielfalt in Kauf, die den Bestand der Ökosysteme weltweit gefährden. Welche Mittel hält das Völkerrecht bereit, um dem entgegenzuwirken? Continue reading >>
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05 Juli 2019

Overruling Roe v. Wade?

Following President Trump’s appointment of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh the question has arisen as to whether, in the coming years, the U.S. Supreme Court will overrule its seminal judgment in Roe v. Wade. Roe established a woman’s fundamental right to choose to have an abortion before the viability of the fetus. The question of Roe’s destiny appears more pressing today than ever before because reversing the case has formed part of President Trump’s successful political platform. Continue reading >>
01 Juli 2019
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Bei uns doch nicht! Oder doch?

Wahlkreismanipulationen erschüttern die repräsentative Demokratie in ihren Fundamenten. Trotzdem will der US Supreme Court dagegen nichts unternehmen. Ein rein amerikanisches Problem? Keineswegs. Auch die deutschen Wahlsysteme bieten Anreizstrukturen für "Gerrymandering", wenngleich diese etwas subtiler sind als in den USA. Continue reading >>

Timid Restraint

What the “partisan gerrymandering” case teaches us about the Supreme Court: it demonstrates that the Court continues to display the hallmarks of a private-law, first-generation constitutional court, albeit one that is well aware it is part of a wider, “vertically differentiated” constitutional system. Continue reading >>
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18 Mai 2019

What to expect when you’re not expecting- Abortion backlash in the US and constitutional standards

Roe v Wade- the US Supreme Court Case that has been on everyone’s lips since the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, if not since the assumption of presidency by Donald Trump. The case from 1973 is known for having established the right to an abortion and is now the center of legal and political debate around the reproductive health of those, who are able to get pregnant. The debate is being fueled by a number of states passing so-called heartbeat bills and other restrictive legislation, whereas Alabama has not only joined in on the trend but has introduced the harshest bill yet, criminalizing abortion altogether. In light of these current events, the following takes a look at the constitutional development of the right to terminate a pregnancy and its implications for current laws. Continue reading >>
03 April 2019

Court-Packing On the Table in the United States?

Surprising many Establishment-oriented commentators and legal scholars, several candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have endorsed – or at least have expressed willingness to think about – “Court-packing,” that is, increasing the number of Supreme Court Justices to offset the control Republicans gained by what Democrats regard as unfair tactics. Continue reading >>
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27 März 2019

Die USA unter Präsident Trump: Totengräber des Völkerrechts

Der 25. März 2019 wird als ein schwarzer Tag in die Geschichte des Völkerrechts eingehen. Mit der Anerkennung der israelischen Souveränität über die seit 1967 von Israel besetzten syrischen Golanhöhen hat US-Präsident Donald Trump einen Tabubruch begangen, der das Völkerrecht um 100 Jahre zurückwirft, die Herrschaft des Rechts unterminiert und die internationale Rechtsordnung massiv beschädigt. Die völkerrechtswidrige Anerkennung gibt Anlass dazu, das Verhältnis der USA unter Präsident Trump zum Völkerrecht generell zu beleuchten. Continue reading >>
22 März 2019

Angst vor der eigenen Courage? Licht und Schatten im Drohnenurteil des OVG Münster

Das OVG Münster hat am Dienstag ein wegweisendes Urteil zum US-geführten Drohnenkrieg im Jemen gefällt. Danach wird es künftig nicht mehr ausreichen, dass sich die Bundesregierung von der Regierung der USA beschwichtigen lässt, es sei schon alles rechtmäßig, was im Jemen und anderswo geschieht. Das ist an sich sehr zu begrüßen. Leider scheut das OVG am Ende aber, die Konsequenzen aus den eigenen Feststellungen zu ziehen. Continue reading >>
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21 März 2019

Wegschauen verletzt das Recht auf Leben: Zum Drohnenurteil des OVG Münster

Das Oberverwaltungsgericht für Nordrhein-Westfalen hat am 19. März eine für die rechtsstaatliche Prägung deutscher Außenpolitik sehr bedeutsame Entscheidung getroffen. Demnach muss sich die Bundesrepublik in Zukunft vergewissern, ob durch den Einsatz von US-Drohnen, die über deutsches Gebiet gesteuert werden, Völkerrecht verletzt wird. Ist dies der Fall, muss sie Maßnahmen treffen, damit eine solche Rechtsverletzung unterbleibt. Ein einfaches Wegducken der Bundesrepublik ist damit nicht mehr möglich. Continue reading >>
18 Februar 2019

President Trump’s ‘Get it Done Faster’ Emergency

President Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency is constitutionally dubious as well as politically irresponsible. But perhaps its most astonishing feature is Trump’s perversion of the traditional temporal justification for executive-centered emergency government. Continue reading >>
17 Februar 2019

Trump’s Non-Emergency Emergency, Part II

Trump evidently declared an emergency just because he wanted to do it. But, as I will show here, the emergency may never come into effect. That doesn’t mean that we should think that the constitutional system of the United States is out of danger. Continue reading >>
15 Februar 2019

Trump’s Non-Emergency Emergency

The US has entered a state of emergency that is almost surely unconstitutional. But it says something about the state of US constitutional law that it is hard to see how the president can be stopped. Continue reading >>
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A National Emergency on the Border?

Declarations of emergency are in bad odor in modern constitutional democracies. the U.S. Constitution makes no provision for emergency declarations. And while the Constitution’s guidance is cryptic at best on many separation-of-powers issues, it couldn’t be clearer that Congress—not the President—has the power to appropriate funds. So: can he really do that? The better argument is that he cannot, but it’s not so open-and-shut a matter as you might suppose. Continue reading >>
19 Januar 2019

The Government Shutdown – Another Step towards the Constitutional Precipice

Government shutdowns have occured many times in US history. They are a predictable result of a backdrop of constitutional and public law easily exposed to party polarization. And yet, the present government shutdown represents a new step forward to the precipice on which Trump is taking America’s constitutional democracy, which makes it distinctive for reasons not just of duration. Continue reading >>
19 Dezember 2018

Distracting from the Actual Crisis: The Proposed Asylum Ban

On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice issued a joint interim rule in conjunction with a proclamation from the White House seeking to restrict the eligibility of persons applying for asylum protection in the United States. This interim rule, which is currently stayed by federal court litigation, is yet another attempt by the Administration to remove humanitarian protection for the most vulnerable in direct violation of both domestic and international legal obligations. Continue reading >>
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09 Dezember 2018
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The Census in the USA and Germany: It’s all about sampling

In Germany disputes over the 2011 census have finally come to an end in the “census judgment” by the Bundesverfassungsgericht. In the United States of America, in turn, disputes over the 2020 Census questionnaire are currently before the federal courts that raise related issues of the accuracy of the count. In contrast to the German Grundgesetz, the U.S. constitution requires a census every ten years to determine representation in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. Accurate population data are the underlying goal of the Constitution’s decennial census requirement. We argue that in the twenty-first century accuracy requires modern statistical techniques, including sampling and adequate pre-testing of questions. Continue reading >>
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03 November 2018

Birthright Citizenship and Presidential Power

The Halloween season is traditionally a time for scares and surprises in the United States. This year, President Trump got in on the act, floating a truly shocking idea on October 30. In an interview with Axios, the President declared that he intended to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship in the United States. Before diving into the law, it is worth pausing to consider what a  breathtaking idea it is that the President could unilaterally determine who counts as a citizen. Continue reading >>
20 Oktober 2018

The Bakery as battleground

How should the modern liberal state reconcile the demands of equality and religious belief? It appears that the new battleground is not at the pulpit or the ballot, but at the … bakery. In Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd the UK Supreme Court has delivered an artificial reasoning riddled with conceptual confusion. Continue reading >>
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11 Oktober 2018

A Pyrrhic Victory? Iran obtains Provisional Measures against the United States

Last week Iran scored what has widely been reported to be an important legal victory over the United States. The International Court of Justice ordered provisional measures that prohibit key elements of the new administration’s efforts to wage economic warfare against Iran. The ruling is noteworthy for the clarity and stringency of its argument, but also because nobody expects it to alter the existing dispute between the parties in the slightest. Continue reading >>
05 Oktober 2018

„For the Court, it could be…“: Electing Constitutional Judges in the US and Germany

With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump will shape the U.S. Supreme Court for decades. A comparison with the legal framework for the appointment of constitutional court judges in Germany shows the respective weaknesses of the US system in safeguarding judicial independence. Continue reading >>
12 September 2018

Trump, Mueller, and the U.S. Constitution

A dominant story in American politics since early 2017 has been, of course, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potentially criminal connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. What does all of this have to do with the United States Constitution? Continue reading >>
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28 Juni 2018

Is the U.S. President Above the Law?

On June 4, President Trump tweeted that the President has the absolute right to issue pardons, even to himself. The President’s claim came close on the heels of the New York Times’s publication of a letter two White House attorneys had sent months earlier to Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to investigate links between Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government. The lawyers argued that the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey could not constitute obstruction of justice, because the President is the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, and can fire the FBI Director for any reason at all. Can it really be the case that the President of the United States is above the law? Continue reading >>

Der Supreme Court wird Trump nicht mehr stoppen

Der US Supreme Court hat Präsident Trumps so genannten "Muslim Ban" mit der charakteristischen 5:4-Mehrheit der konservativen Richter  aufgehoben, und damit im Prinzip den Einreisestopp für verfassungsgemäß erklärt. Die Entscheidung ist ein wichtiger Moment im Niedergang der US-amerikanischen Demokratie. Continue reading >>
27 Juni 2018
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The Phantom Insurrection: how Counter-Insurgency Theory Became a Paradigm of Governing

We are constantly struggling to make sense of the politics of our time, to understand what links various developments and phenomena that we witness. Bernard E. Harcourt has written a book that offers such an interpretation. In "The Counterrevolution" he explains how the massive collection of data and the increasing militarization of police go together, how the changes in military and foreign policy relate to domestic US politics since 9/11, and where to place President Trump in this picture. At the occasion of his visit in Berlin, Bernard Harcourt was willing to give this brief interview and speak about the theses of his book. Continue reading >>
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05 Juni 2018

The Federal Rainbow Dream: On Free Movement of Gay Spouses under EU Law

After a pretty disappointing and self-contradictory judgement on the wedding cakes delivered yesterday by the US Supreme Court, the CJEU came up today with the long-awaited decision in the Coman case – putting a thick full stop on a long debate about the interpretation of the term ‘spouses’ under the EU Free Movement Directive. In short, the Court held that the term does cover spouses of the same sex moving to an EU Member State where a gay marriage remains unrecognized. This simple YES is a huge step forward in federalizing the EU constitutional space in a time of multiple crises. Continue reading >>
02 Mai 2018

Corporate Liability for Extraterritorial Human Rights Violations – the US in Retreat?

Last week, in Jesner v. Arab Bank, the United States Supreme Court decided that foreign corporations cannot be sued in federal court for human rights violations that occurred outside the US and have no substantial link to the US. The decision is the latest piece of an ongoing debate around the question: just how far can the US meddle in affairs of other countries? More pragmatically, it makes international human rights litigation - a successful counterpart to diplomatic intervention in the past - much more difficult today. Continue reading >>
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14 April 2018

Syria and the Humanitarian Reprisal – President Trump’s Poisonous Gift to International Law?

Among the many unwanted gifts Donald Trump has given international law as of yet, this may very well prove to be the worst: the humanitarian reprisal. Forcible countermeasures, so-called reprisals, were standard practice in order to enforce violations of international obligations at least until World War I and continued to be used and accepted even in the inter-war period. Not infrequently, they led to wider military conflicts. Thus, under the post-1945 international legal order established by the UN Charter, reprisals do not constitute licit countermeasures and in fact are covered by the prohibition of the use of force in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Continue reading >>
07 März 2018
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Rückzug aus dem Atomabkommen: Drohen die USA mit einem Völkerrechtsbruch?

Seit Januar hält US-Präsident Trump die übrigen Mitglieder des Iran-Atomabkommens mit seinem Ultimatum in Atem: Wenn man nicht bis Mai die „desaströsen Fehler“ des Abkommens korrigiere, verabschiedeten sich die USA davon. Aber lässt das Völkerrecht einen Austritt überhaupt zu? Continue reading >>
13 September 2017

Hat das Völkerrecht die (Atom-)Waffen gestreckt? Nordkorea und ein potentieller Militärschlag der USA

Der Konflikt um das nordkoreanische Atomprogramm spitzt sich immer weiter zu. Noch bietet das klassische Völkerrecht keine Möglichkeit für die Rechtfertigung eines Militärschlages, beispielsweise durch die USA. Doch die Staatenpraxis zu nuklearen Bedrohungslagen ist in Bewegung. Continue reading >>
17 Juni 2017

More Emolument Trouble For President Trump?

Emoluments is the word of the hour again in the United States. The past week saw the filing of two new lawsuits alleging that President Trump has violated one or more of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments and other benefits from foreign and domestic governments. What’s significant about the new suits is who the plaintiffs are. One is brought by the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C., the other by 196 members of Congress, all Democrats. Are these the plaintiffs who can get a court to rule, for the first time ever, on what “emolument” means as used in the Constitution? Continue reading >>
10 Mai 2017

Trump and the FBI: Four very quick questions and answers from SANFORD LEVINSON

US President Donald Trump, to the bewildered horror of many, has dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of an investigation about his aides' ties to Russia. Some even call this situation a constitutional crisis. We have shot Constitutional Law professor Sandy Levinson four very quick questions and received four equally short answers. Continue reading >>
29 April 2017

Schranken für die weltweite Überwachung? Was die jüngsten Ankündigungen der NSA zu bedeuten haben

Am gestrigen Nachmittag gab die NSA überraschend bekannt, eine zentrale Komponente ihres globalen Überwachungssystems zu beenden. In der Zukunft will die Behörde nur Emails speichern, die von oder an verdächtige Ausländer gesendet wurden („to or from communications“). Hingegen werden nicht mehr alle Internet-Nachrichten daraufhin gescannt, ob sie Daten verdächtiger Ausländer im Text der Nachricht nennen („about communications“). Weniger Überwachung klingt gut. Und die ersten Reaktionen in den USA sind verhalten positiv, wird damit doch einer zentralen Forderung von BürgerrechtlerInnen entsprochen. Doch was bedeutet der Kurswechsel aus europäischer und deutscher Sicht? Continue reading >>
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28 April 2017

Trapped in the Age of Trump: the American Supreme Court and 21st Century Populism

The American Supreme Court is currently ill-equipped to confront populism. […] Continue reading >>
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04 April 2017

„A Roguish and Unpopular President is potentially an Occasion for the Judiciary to Shine“

Will Democrats be able to block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as Supreme Court Justice, and how will it affect the Court if they won't? Mattias Kumm on the latest developments in the nomination process and the judiciary's role in holding the Trump administration in check. Continue reading >>
16 Februar 2017

Wie Trump gestürzt werden könnte

Die Republikaner im Kongress könnten Trump des Amtes entheben, müssten dann aber vor dessen Anhängern die Verantwortung dafür tragen. Es gibt einen anderen Weg, der ihnen den Entschluss dazu erleichtern könnte. Continue reading >>
08 Februar 2017

Trumps Supreme-Court-Nominierung im Zeichen der „Checks and Balances“

US-Präsident Trump hat Neil M. Gorsuch als Richter am Supreme Court nominiert. Was hat es mit dieser Personalie auf sich? Und wie wirkt sie sich auf traditionelle Kräftegleichgewicht im obersten Gericht der Vereinigten Staaten aus? Continue reading >>
07 Februar 2017

„Trump’s statements express the same kind of populist opposition to constitutional court judges we have seen elsewhere“

Harvard professor Mark Tushnet on the Trump administration's attacks against the judiciary and whether or not the rule of law is under threat from the new US President. Continue reading >>
04 Februar 2017

Trump’s Muslim Ban and its Constitutional Limits

The dramatic executive orders of the newly inaugurated President of the United States, Donald Trump, including, most infamously, his executive order excluding Syrian refugees from entry into the United States, and popularly known as the “Muslim ban,” has raised not only hackles among many outside observers, but also questions about the legality of these orders. The short answer is that some of the matters set out in his executive orders, including those affecting refugees, are almost certainly legal, while other aspects of those orders raise significant issues under the United States constitution. Continue reading >>
02 Februar 2017

Geschlossenheit in welchem Sinne? Europäische Verfassungsfragen beim Treffen in Malta

Beim Gipfel von Malta will die EU in punkto Migrationspolitik Geschlossenheit demonstrieren - auch gegenüber US-Präsident Trump. Die USA schultern aber den Löwenanteil der Kosten für das UN-Flüchtlingshilfswerk und für das Resettlement von Flüchtlingen. Beides unt