The discussion starts from the normative assumption that the power of national and increasingly international Constitutional Courts to decide about political questions with far-reaching political consequences is only legitimate and effective as long as these courts reach their decisions in ways and with methods that are different from politics.

Deutsches Haus

On Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, Deutsches Haus at New York University will present a conference bringing together scholars as well as judges to discuss the conditions on which national and international Constitutional Courts can succeed in achieving legitimacy and effectiveness.

The conference begins Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m. at Deutsches Haus, located at 42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y., with a keynote speech by Martin M. Shapiro of UC Berkeley School of Law. It will pick up again Friday, April 10 with a full day’s slate of discussions. The schedule appears below.

For further information, or to register for the event – which is free and open to the public – please call 212.998.8660 or email deutscheshaus@nyu.edu.

Since the second half of the 20th century Constitutional Courts have spread worldwide. Yet, there is little knowledge on the conditions that make the power of these courts legitimate and effective. In addition, the interactions between Constitutional Courts as well as the difference in decision-making between national and international courts deserve to be scrutinized. Therefore, the interconnection between legitimacy, effectiveness and methods of decision-making of Constitutional Courts will be the focus of the conferences. This theoretical question will be explored with empirical insight from case-studies of the influence which Constitutional Courts exert during transformations of governance that can be observed in the process of European integration and in the evolution of new democracies.

The discussion starts from the normative assumption that the power of national and increasingly international Constitutional Courts to decide about political questions with far-reaching political consequences is only legitimate and effective as long as these courts reach their decisions in ways and with methods that are different from politics. This normative assumption is based on the argument that Constitutional Courts could contribute to solving conflicts about the interpretation of constitutions or of treaties by applying a specific logic of decision-making. Courts could profit from the difference between law and politics thereby enhancing the overall problem-solving capacity of global governance.

Once the normative approach has been outlined and theoretical concepts of the relation between law and politics have been discussed at the first conference (Session I), empirical research on the impact of Constitutional Courts on European Integration (Session II), on the interactions between national and international courts, and on the methods applied in judicial decision-making (Session III) will be presented in order to test the normative assumption. With empirical evidence on the table, the first conference closes with a debate about the conditions on which Constitutional Courts could gain legitimacy and effectiveness by taking advantage of the potential of difference between law and politics (Roundtable).

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Thursday, April 9
6:00-7:30 p.m.
Keynote Speech: “Judicial Power and Democratic Politics” – Martin M. Shapiro, Berkeley Law

Friday, April 10
9:00-10:30 a.m.
Session I: “Law and Politics – Theoretical Concepts”
Chair: Christine Landfried, NYU
Richard H. Pildes, NYU Law
Michel Rosenfeld, Cardozo School of Law
Alec Stone Sweet, Yale Law School

11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session II: “The Impact of Constitutional Courts on European Integration – Case Studies”
Chair: Vanessa Mak, Tilburg University and Jean Monnet Center at NYU
Türküler Isiksel, Princeton University
Franz C. Mayer, University of Bielefeld
Bilyana Petkova, Jean Monnet Center at NYU

2:00-3:30 p.m.
Session III: “Transnational Judicial Interactions and Methods of Decision-Making”
Chair: Mattias Kumm, Social Science Research Center at Berlin and NYU
Mitchel Lasser, Cornell University
Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff, University of Bielefeld and former Justice of the German Constitutional Court
Mikael Rask Madsen, University of Copenhagen

4:00-5:30 p.m.
Roundtable: “Law and Politics – The Potential of Difference”
Chair: Jean Cohen, Columbia University
Daniel Halberstam, University of Michigan Law
Christine Landfried, NYU
András Sajó, Justice of the European Court of Human Rights and Central European University

The conference is part of an effort to promote German and European studies at NYU. We invite graduate students and faculty from different departments and programs at NYU and the broader academic community.

The Max Weber Chair Conference 2015 is a DAAD-sponsored event.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337