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Constitutional Pluralism's Unspoken Normative Core

  • Jessica C. LAWRENCE (a1)

Abstract

This article argues that discourses of constitutional pluralism contain a strong normative core which is made up of a series of largely unacknowledged implicit claims about legitimacy and community. This argument is illustrated by reference to various constitutional pluralist responses to the Hungarian Constitutional Court's ruling concerning the protection of constitutional identity in the context of EU asylum and refugee protection law and policy, demonstrating that whether this decision falls ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ constitutional pluralist tolerance depends on how the observer defines the minimum amount of shared substantive or procedural content that is fundamental to the EU order.

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References

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1 MacCormick, N, ‘Beyond the Sovereign State’ (1993) 61(1) Modern Law Review 1.

2 Weiler, J, ‘Prologue: Global and Pluralist Constitutionalism – Some Doubts’ in Búrca, G de and Weiler, JHH (eds), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2011), p 8 (describing constitutional pluralism as the ‘prevailing orthodoxy’).

3 Avbelj, M, ‘Human Dignity and EU Legal Pluralism’ in Davies, G and Avbelj, M (eds), Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law (Edward Elgar, 2018), p 102.

4 Matej Avbelj, for example, has subdivided constitutional pluralism into six ‘representative theories’: socio-teleological constitutionalism, epistemic metaconstitutionalism, cosmopolitan constitutionalism, harmonious-discursive constitutionalism, multilevel constitutionalism, and pragmatic constitutionalism. Avbelj, M, ‘Questioning EU Constitutionalisms’ (2008) 9 German Law Journal 1.

5 RD Kelemen, ‘The Dangers of Constitutional Pluralism’ in Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law, note 3 above, p 392. See also Kelemen and Pech in this Symposium.

6 Werner, WG and Wilde, JH De, ‘The Endurance of Sovereignty’ (2001) 7 European Journal of International Relations 283, p 285.

7 See generally Wittgenstein, L, Philosophical Investigations (Anscombe, GEM tr, Blackwell, 1997).

8 See generally Austin, JL, Philosophical Papers (Oxford University Press, 1961); Searle, JR, The Construction of Social Reality (Free Press, 1995).

9 For an overview of the framing literature, see Benford, RD and Snow, DA, ‘Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment’ (2000) 26 Annual Review of Sociology 611; Oliver, PE and Johnston, H, ‘What a Good Idea: Frames and Ideologies in Social Movements Research’ (2000) 5 Mobilization: An International Journal 37.

10 For an overview, see Brunnée, J and Toope, SJ, ‘Constructivist Approaches to International Law’ in Dunoff, JL and Pollack, MA (eds), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

11 Walker, N, ‘The Idea of Constitutional Pluralism’ (2002) 65 Modern Law Review 317, p 318.

12 Walker, N, ‘Flexibility within a Metaconstitutional Frame: Reflections on the Future of Legal Authority in Europe’ in Búrca, G de and Scott, J (eds), Constitutional Change in the EU: From Uniformity to Flexibility (Hart, 2000).

13 For an extended exploration, see Flynn, T, The Triangular Constitution: Constitutional Pluralism in Ireland, the EU and the ECHR (Hart, 2019).

14 See generally Mouffe, C, Antagonistics: Thinking the World Politically (Verso, 2013).

15 Maduro, MP, ‘Contrapunctual Law: Europe's Constitutional Pluralism in Action’ in Walker, N (ed), Sovereignty in Transition (Hart, 2003), p 501.

16 J Lawrence, ‘Of Politics and Pluralism: Governmentality and the EU Legal Order’ in Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law, note 3 above, p 247.

17 Goldmann, M, ‘Constitutional Pluralism as Mutually Assured Discretion: The Court of Justice, the German Federal Constitutional Court, and the ECB’ (2016) 23 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 119.

18 Weiler, note 2 above, p 9.

19 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel (Case 2 BvL 52/71) (1974) 2 Common Market Law Review 540 (Solange I); Re the Application of Wünsche Handelsgesellschaft (Case 2 BvR 197/83) (1987) 3 Common Market Law Review 225 (Solange II); Brunner v European Union Treaty (Case 2 BvR 2134/92 and 2959/92 JZ 1993, 1100) (1994) 1 Common Market Law Review 57 (Maastricht).

20 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel, C-11/70, EU:C:1970:114.

21 Walker, note 11 above, p 337.

22 Bobić, A, ‘Constitutional Pluralism Is Not Dead: An Analysis of Interactions between Constitutional Courts of Member States and the European Court of Justice’ (2017) 18(6) German Law Journal 1395.

23 MacCormick, N, Questioning Sovereignty: Law, State and Nation in the European Commonwealth (Oxford University Press, 1999), p 120.

24 Flynn, note 13 above, p 1.

25 Weiler, note 2 above, p 8.

26 See eg Klemen, Jaklic, Constitutional Pluralism in the EU (Oxford University Press, 2014).

27 Weiler, JHH, ‘On the Power of the Word: Europe's Constitutional Iconography’ (2005) 3 I-CON 187, pp 187–88.

28 Ibid, 188.

29 Maduro, note 15 above, p 524.

30 Ibid, p 526.

31 Ibid, p 527.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid, p 530.

34 Ibid, p 527.

35 Kumm, M, ‘The Jurisprudence of Constitutional Conflict: Constitutional Supremacy in Europe Before and After the Constitutional Treaty (2005) 11 European Law Journal 262, p 299.

36 See generally Foucault, M, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978–1979 (Davidson, AI ed, Burchell, G tr, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

37 Decision of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, 22/2016 (XII.5), AB on the Interpretation of Article E) (2) of the Fundamental Law.

38 Article 2 TEU.

39 For a discussion of the ways in which the subsidiarity principle is called upon to correct the EU's democratic deficit, see Bartl, Marija, ‘The Way We Do Europe: Subsidiarity and the Substantive Democratic Deficit’ (2015) 21(1) European Law Journal 23.

40 For more in-depth analyses of the Hungarian situation, see G Halmai, ‘National(ist) Constitutional Identity? Hungary's Road to Abuse Constitutional Pluralism’ (2017) EUI Working Papers 8.

41 Council Decision (EU), No 2015/1601 [2015] OJ L248 /80.

42 R Mackey, ‘Hungarian Leader Rebuked for Saying Muslim Migrants Must Be Blocked ‘to Keep Europe Christian' (The New York Times, 3 September 2015), at https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/world/europe/hungarian-leader-rebuked-for-saying-muslim-migrants-must-be-blocked-to-keep-europe-christian.html.

43 Slovak Republic and Hungary v Council, C-643/15 and C-47/15, EU:C:2017:631.

44 Hungarian Constitutional Court, Decision 22/2016, para 46.

45 Article 4(2) TEU.

46 Ibid, para 49.

47 Ibid, para 63.

48 Article 4(3) TEU.

49 Quoted in Halmai, note 40 above, p 14.

50 European Parliament Resolution (EU) No 2017/2131(INL).

51 Pierdominici, L, ‘The Theory of EU Constitutional Pluralism: A Crisis in a Crisis?’ (2017) 9(2) Perspectives on Federalism E-119, p E-144.

52 Avbelj, note 3 above, p 103.

53 Ibid, pp 103–04.

54 Kelemen, note 5 above, p 393. See also Kelemen and Pech's contributions to the current volume.

55 On the notion of political rationality, see Lawrence, J, Governmentality in EU Trade and Environment Policy: Between Rights and Market (Routledge, 2018).

56 Lawrence, note 16 above

57 Avbelj, M, ‘Pluralism and Systemic Defiance in the EU’, in Jakab, A and Kochenov, D (eds), The Enforcement of EU Law and Values (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp 5657.

58 Ibid, p 68.

59 MacCormick, note 1 above.

60 Walker, N, ‘Constitutionalism in Global Context’ in Avbelj, M and Komárek, J (eds), Constitutional Pluralism in the European Union and Beyond (Hart, 2012), p 18

61 Halberstam, D, ‘It's the Autonomy, Stupid! A Modest Defense of Opinion 2/13 on EU Accession to the ECHR, and the Way Forward’ (2015) 16(1) German Law Journal 105, p 107.

Keywords

Constitutional Pluralism's Unspoken Normative Core

  • Jessica C. LAWRENCE (a1)

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