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.

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A Look behind the Fake News Laws of Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, attempts to regulate the fake news phenomenon can be broadly categorized, on the one hand, in cases where fake news laws are conceived at least also as the government’s weapon to silence critics and dissenters, and on the other hand, cases where the discourse is lead more open-ended. Under the first category, Malaysia springs to mind, Cambodia and Vietnam possibly too. Thailand is a somewhat mixed case. Much more open-ended are the fake news discourses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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The Tale of Two Citizenships

August 2018: Two reports make the rounds in Austrian media. One discusses data protection issues for persons on the so-called citizenship “Promi-Liste”. It tells a story of a Chinese investor, who offered a donation to a public university dean in exchange for assistance with receiving the Austrian citizenship. Meanwhile, another paper breaks the news with a related dicey topic: about 70 Austrians have received notice they are to lose their citizenship. The reason? They allegedly reacquired their native Turkish citizenship as evidenced by their alleged participation in a Turkish referendum.

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March 2019

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Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

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Democratic Decay Resource (DEM-DEC): Fifth Monthly Bibliography Update-December 2018

DEM-DEC Launch Podcast The panel discussion to formally launch DEM-DEC on 22 October was broadcast by ABC Radio National’s ‘Big ideas’ programme on 27 and 28 November and is now available as a podcast.  The launch programme and details are on DEM-DEC. The DEM-DEC Bibliography The DEM-DEC Main Bibliography (finalised on 24 June 2018) presents […]

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The Strange Case of the Publicity of the Brexit Legal Advice

One of the most remarkable episodes of the most remarkable Brexit saga is the strange case of the publicity of the Brexit legal advice. The actions of Theresa May’s government seem to aim at reducing both popular and democratic sovereignty to an empty shell before the incumbent Prime Minister and her cabinet are kicked out of power. However, the case of the publicity of legal advice is indeed strange not only on account of what has transpired on the British isles, but also of what has not happened on the continent.

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Combatting TINA-Rhetoric through Judicial Review: Dealing with Pay Cuts in Times of Financial Consolidation

Recently, the German Federal Constitutional Court has decided that certain cuts on wages for civil servants in the Land Baden-Württemberg are unconstitutional. The judgment establishes a constitutional answer to the so-called “there is no alternative” (TINA) rhetoric that has largely dominated the political discourse on budgetary consolidation in the past. From this perspective, this line of jurisprudence allows for opening up a political and constitutional discourse that has become somewhat colonized by purely economic and financial considerations.

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Sovereign Choices: The CJEU’s Ruling on Exit from Brexit

In today’s Wightman judgment, the CJEU has ruled that a Member State may unilaterally revoke its notified intention to withdraw from the EU prior to that withdrawal taking effect. The Court is clearly signalling that membership of the European Union, and the rights and responsibilities which come with it, is voluntary. As political messages go, that is a pretty big message.

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The Meaningful Vote on Brexit: the End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

Tomorrow, the House of Commons will, barring a last minute delay, be the stage for the conclusion of the most dramatic parliamentary debate of the Brexit process so far: the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. In strict constitutional terms the question is simple: will MPs decide to approve the motion that is legally required (by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018) to enable the Withdrawal Agreement to be ratified before exit day? However, the political and procedural reality is, as one would expect, less simple.

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Of Rhetoric and Reality: The Nobel Peace Prize and Conflict-Related Sexualized Violence

Tonight, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad will jointly receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”. This event provides a good opportunity to take a look at the development of narratives and the legal treatment of conflict-related sexual violence.

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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.

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Can an Art. 50 TEU withdrawal notice be revoked? How Advocate General Bordona offered a legal Trojan horse to Union law

In his opinion given in the Case Wightman et. al., Advocate General Bordona pleads for the possibility to revoke the notification of withdrawal. Although it may be politically and economically desirable to keep the UK in the Union, this does not justify the introduction of a “legal Trojan horse” into the European law order by interpreting the European treaties in a one-sided manner.

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