The Research Group on Global Justice
of the Yan P. Lin Centre for the Study of Freedom and Global Orders in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
is pleased to welcome as part of its speaker series
Prof Peter Niesen
from the University of Hamburg and le Centre Canadien d'études allemandes et européennes at the Université de Montréal
to give a presentation entitled
"Constituent Power in Global Constitutionalism"
Abstract: Relying on the assumption that the constituent power of the people is a key legitimating feature of state constitutions, I argue that global constitutionalism needs to attend to the question of constituent power as well, in two steps. I first show that international treaties can affect domestic constitutions, unauthorised by constituent power (I). I then argue that a similar problem of ‘constituent usurpation’ arises for supra-state constitutions (II). In attempting to remedy this defect, I argue that it is plausible to extend the concept of constituent power to normative orders beyond the state (III). I focus on the presumptively most promising case, the European Union, and the various candidates that have been proposed as its pouvoirs constituants. I locate the usefulness of the concept of constituent power in three dimensions, in its having an explanatory, a critical-restrictive, and an empowering function in processes of global constitutionalisation.
Attendees should read Prof Niesen's paper in advance to ensure that the session is devoted to discussion. Please lincentre [at] mcgill.ca (email )the Lin Centre to request the paper.