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European Journal of Law Reform


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Issue 2-3, 2018 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States

Comparative Perspectives of Europe’s Human Rights Deficit

Authors Csongor István Nagy
Author's information

Csongor István Nagy
Professor of law and head of the Department of Private International Law at the University of Szeged, research chair and the head of the Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and an attorney-at-law admitted to the Budapest Bar. He serves as a recurrent visiting Professor at the Central European University (Budapest/New York), the Riga Graduate School of Law (Latvia) and the Sapientia University of Transylvania (Romania). This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Access_open The Application of European Constitutional Values in EU Member States

The Case of the Fundamental Law of Hungary

Keywords Article 2 and 7 TEU, democratic backsliding, Hungary, infringement procedure, rule-of-law mechanism
Authors Gábor Halmai
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    This article deals with the backsliding of liberal democracy in Hungary, after 2010, and also with the ways in which the European Union (EU) has coped with the deviations from the shared values of rule of law and democracy in one of its Member States. The article argues that during the fight over the compliance with the core values of the EU pronounced in Article 2 TEU with the Hungarian government, the EU institutions so far have proven incapable of enforcing compliance, which has considerably undermined not only the legitimacy of the Commission but also that of the entire rule-of-law oversight.


Gábor Halmai
Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute, Department of Law, Florence. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Federalization through Rights in the EU

A Legal Opportunities Approach

Keywords EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Federalization, Integration, Legal change, Legal opportunities, Litigation, Scope of application
Authors Marie-Pierre Granger
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    While academic contributions abound on the reach and impact of the European Union (EU) system of fundamental rights protection, and notably on the desirability of a more or less extensive control of Member States’ actions in light of the rights protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, there have been few attempts to explain the dynamics of integration-through-rights in the EU. This article proposes an explanatory framework inspired by a legal opportunities approach, which emphasizes the relevance of national and EU legal opportunities, and interactions between them, in determining the actual scope and pace of federalization through rights in the EU. It suggests that the weaker the legal opportunities for fundamental rights protection are at the domestic level, the greater the federalizing pressure is, and call for more empirical comparative studies to test this framework out.


Marie-Pierre Granger
Associate Professor, Central European University, Budapest. The development of the conceptual framework proposed in this article was inspired by empirical studies on France and Hungary carried out within the EU-funded project ‘bEUcitizen: barriers towards EU Citizenship’ under the FP7 programme (Grant agreement 320294). This volume (The EU Bill of Rights' Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets `Momentum' Research Group.
Article

The Harmonization Potential of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Keywords application of EU law, Article 51 of the Charter, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, Court of Justice, jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, market freedoms, spontaneous harmonization
Authors Filippo Fontanelli and Amedeo Arena
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    This article discusses two underrated and connected aspects that determine the applicability of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights to Member State measures. First, the Charter can be a decisive standard of review for domestic measures only when they are covered by EU law but are not precluded by it. In this respect, the distinction between non-preclusion and non-application of EU law has been overlooked by legal scholarship. Second, because the scope of application of EU law and that of the Charter are identical, the latter suffers from the same uncertainties as the former. This article concludes that the entry into force of the Charter has exposed the blurred contours of the application of EU law, in particular in the area of the market freedoms. As a result, a certain spontaneous harmonization of human rights protection has emerged.


Filippo Fontanelli
Respectively, Senior Lecturer in International Economic Law, University of Edinburgh; and Associate Professor, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Federico II’. The work is the outcome of both authors’collaboration. Amedeo Arena drafted sections A to C, Filippo Fontanelli drafted sections D to G.

Amedeo Arena
A previous version of this work appeared in M. Andenas, T. Bekkedal & L. Pantaleo (Eds.), The Reach of Free Movement, Springer, TMC Asser Press, 2017, p. 293-312. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

The Margin of Appreciation in the ECtHR’s Case Law

A European Version of the Levels of Scrutiny Doctrine?

Keywords ECHR, judicial deference, levels of scrutiny, margin of appreciation, U.S. federalism
Authors Koen Lemmens
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    Although the American doctrine of levels of scrutiny and the European concept of margin of appreciation are regularly compared as typical instances of deferential judicial decision-making, this article argues that owing to the institutional setting in which they operate, the differences between the two are notable. It is also argued that the social consequences of the application of the two concepts may even be radically opposed.


Koen Lemmens
Associate professor of Public Law at KU Leuven (Belgium) and press law VU Brussels (Belgium). The author thanks Toon Agten for his comments and Camille Van Peteghem for her assistance during research. The usual disclaimer applies. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

The Sovereign Strikes Back

A Judicial Perspective on Multi-Layered Constitutionalism in Europe

Keywords Constitutional identity, constitutionalism, fragmentation, globalization, multilayered constitution, sovereignty, trust
Authors Renáta Uitz and András Sajó
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    The supranational web of public law is often described as a new constitutionalism. It emerged in a globalized world together with global markets. In the course of the multilayered constitutional experiment, the old, national constitutional framework had lost its ability to deliver on the key features associated with constitutionalism: limiting the exercise of political powers and preventing the arbitrary exercise thereof. In the multilayered era it has become difficult to pinpoint the centre of authority. Ultimately, someone needs to govern, if not for other reasons, at least to avoid chaos. Is it possible to have the guarantees of freedom, rule of law and efficiency that a constitutional democracy seems to provide in a system where there is no sovereign with authority?


Renáta Uitz
Renáta Uitz is Professor, Chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program, Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest.

András Sajó
András Sajo is University Professor, Central European University, Budapest. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Perspectives on Comparative Federalism

The American Experience in the Pre-incorporation Era

Keywords 14th amendment, anti-federalists, Barron v. Baltimore (1833), Board of Education and other Cases (1954), Civil Rights Cases (1883), Bill of Rights, Brown v. Constitutional Convention (1787), Federalists, Holmes v. Jennsion (1840), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), The Federalist (1787-1788)
Authors Kenneth R. Stevens
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    Today the Bill of Rights is understood to limit not only the federal government but also the power of the states to infringe on the civil liberties of citizens. This was not always the case. In the early days of the republic, most Americans feared federal authority far more than the states. This remained the case until passage of the 14th amendment to the Constitution followed by a series of interpretations over the years by the Supreme Court that broadened its scope. Some delegates at the convention of 1787 and other critics during ratification complained that the Constitution did not include a bill of rights, but others objected that the people needed such protections from government power. It became clear, however, that ratification could not be attained without inclusion of a Bill of Rights, which were adopted as amendments in 1791. In 1833, the Supreme Court ruled, in Barron v. Baltimore, that the provisions of the Bill of Rights imposed restrictions only on the federal government and not on the states. Passage of the 14th amendment in 1868 made the Bill of Rights restrictions on the states. Over the years, federal courts increasingly broadened the authority of the Bill of Rights as limitations on the states.


Kenneth R. Stevens
Professor, AddRan College of Liberal Arts, Texas Christian University. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Incorporation Doctrine’s Federalism Costs

A Cautionary Note for the European Union

Keywords Bill of Rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights, diversity of human flourishing, federalism, incorporation, individual liberty, jurisdictional competition
Authors Lee J. Strang
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, I first briefly describe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decades-long process of incorporating the federal Bill of Rights against the states. Second, I argue that incorporation of the Bill of Rights has come with significant costs to federalism in the United States. Third, I suggest that the American experience provides a cautionary note for the European Union as it grapples with the question of whether and to what extent to apply the Charter of Fundamental Rights to its constituent nations. I end by identifying options available to the European Union to avoid at least some of this harm to federalism while, at the same time, securing some of the benefit that might be occasioned by incorporating the Charter.


Lee J. Strang
John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values, University of Toledo College of Law. Thank you to Csongor Istvan Nagy for organizing and hosting this conference, and to the conference participants for their thoughtful comments and criticisms. Thank you as well to Michael Stahl for his valuable research assistance. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

The Architecture of American Rights Protections

Texts, Concepts and Institutions

Keywords American constitutional development, American legal history, Architecture, Bill of Rights, Congress, constitutional interpretation, constitutionalism, discrimination, due process, equal protection, equality, institutions, statutes, U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment
Authors Howard Schweber
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    This article examines the architecture of American rights protections. The term ‘architecture’ is used to convey the sense of a structure system with points of entry, channels of proceeding, and different end points. This structural understanding is applied to the historical development of national rights protections in the United States in three senses: textual, conceptual and institutional. The development of these three structured systems – architectures – of rights reveals dimensions of the strengths, limitations and distinctive character of the American rights protections in theory and in practice.


Howard Schweber
Professor of Political Science and affiliate faculty member of the Law School, Legal Studies, and Integrated Liberal Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Three Tiers, Exceedingly Persuasive Justifications and Undue Burdens

Searching for the Golden Mean in US Constitutional Law

Keywords Equal protection, franchise, fundamental rights, intermediate scrutiny, rationality review, reproductive rights, right to vote, strict scrutiny, substantive due process, undue burden, US constitutional law
Authors Barry Sullivan
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    When government action is challenged on equal protection grounds in the US, conventional wisdom holds that the courts will analyse constitutionality under one of three standards of review: rational basis, intermediate scrutiny and strict scrutiny. In substantive due process cases, two standards are applied: rational basis and strict scrutiny. In fact, careful study shows that the levels of scrutiny are actually more plastic than conventional wisdom would suggest and have shifted over time. In addition, courts sometimes confuse matters by appearing to introduce new tests, as when Justice Ginsburg characterized the government’s burden in Virginia v. United States, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) in terms of “an exceedingly persuasive justification”. Finally, while the Court originally applied strict scrutiny review to reproductive rights in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), the Court has subsequently applied an ‘undue burden’ test in that area. A similar trend can be seen in voting rights cases. While the Court long ago characterized the right to vote as “fundamental … because preservative of all rights”, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886), and the modern Court initially applied strict scrutiny to voting rights, the Court has now moved away from strict scrutiny, just as it has in the reproductive rights area. This erosion of constitutional protection for voting rights is the central concern of this article. The focus here is on the way these tests have evolved with respect to limitations on the right to vote. The article begins with a description of the three-tiered paradigm and then considers the US Supreme Court’s development of the ‘undue burden’ test as a substitute for the strict scrutiny standard in the reproductive rights jurisprudence. The article then considers the Court’s analogous move away from strict scrutiny in voting rights cases. That move is particularly troubling because overly deferential review may subvert democratic government by giving elected officials enormous power to frame electoral rules in a way that potentially games the system for their own benefit. Building on existing scholarship with respect to reproductive rights, this article suggests a possible way forward, one that may satisfy the Court’s concerns with the need for regulation of the electoral process while also providing the more robust protection needed to protect the right to participate meaningfully in the electoral process.


Barry Sullivan
Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The author is grateful to Jeffrey W. Gordon, Pilar Mendez and Tara Russo for expert research assistance, to Julienne Grant, Loyola University Chicago School of Law Reference Librarian, for additional research assistance, and to Michael Kaufman, Alfred S. Konefsky, Juan Perea, H. Jefferson Powell, Henry Rose, and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan for many helpful comments on an earlier draft. The author also wishes to thank the Cooney & Conway Chair Fund and the Loyola University School of Law Faculty Research Fund. The usual dispensation applies. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Trinity Lutheran and Its Implications for Federalism in the United States

Keywords anti-Catholic bias, Baby Blaine Amendments, Blaine Amendments, federalism, free exercise, non-discrimination, religious animus
Authors Brett G. Scharffs
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    This article considers the ‘tire scrap’ playground case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the summer of 2017, and its implications for federalism in the United States. In Trinity Lutheran the U.S. Supreme Court held that the state of Missouri violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by disqualifying a church-owned school from participating in a programme that provided state funding for updating playgrounds. The case has interesting Free Exercise Clause implications, because the Court emphasized the non-discrimination component of Free Exercise. It also has interesting implications for federalism, because Missouri’s State constitutional provision prohibiting state funding of religion was rooted in an era of anti-Catholic bias. These so-called State constitutional ‘Blaine Amendments’ exist in some form in as many as forty states. Although the Court did not explicitly address whether state Blaine Amendments violate the U.S. Constitution per se due to their history of religious animus, the Court held that this Blaine Amendment as applied here violated the Federal Constitution. This could have significant effects for the wall of separation between religion and the state, and might have especially significant implications for state funding of religion, including the ‘elephant in the room’ in this case, state educational ‘voucher’ programmes that provide state funding to parents who send their children to religiously affiliated schools.


Brett G. Scharffs
Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University. BSBA, MA, Georgetown University; BPhil (Rhodes Scholar) Oxford University; JD, Yale Law School. Thanks to Kyle Harvey, BYU Law Class of 2019 for his research assistance. Heartfelt thanks also to Professor Csongor István Nagy for the invitation to contribute to this project. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Rights in the Australian Federation

Keywords Australian Constitution, bill of rights, constitutional rights, democracy, federalism, freedom of interstate trade, freedom of religion, implied rights, judicial independence, property rights, right to trial by jury, separation of powers
Authors Nicholas Aroney and James Stellios
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Australian Constitution is unique among constitutional instruments. It was primarily designed to federate self-governing British colonies within the British constitutional tradition and to establish institutions of federal government. As such, the constitutional instrument does not contain an entrenched bill of rights. Yet Australia has been a stable federal democracy since its establishment in 1901 and, by international standards, it is consistently assessed as maintaining high levels of personal freedom, political rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. This article considers the place of rights in the Australian federation against Australian constitutional history and its constitutional context.


Nicholas Aroney
Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law, The University of Queensland. The support of Australian Research Council grant FT100100469 is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to Terry East for his very capable research assistance. James Stellios is Professor, Law School, Australian National University. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.

James Stellios