Search result: 261 articles

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Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Law against Gender-Based Violence

The Successful Story of the Cabo Verde Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords oversight, post-legislative scrutiny, Cabo Verde, parliament
Authors Elisabete Azevedo-Harman and Ricardo Godinho Gomes
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2011 Cabo Verde’s parliament approved the Law Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In 2014, 3 years later, the Women’s Caucus (WC) of this parliament agreed to trace the implementation of the law and its impact. This decision was taken without a clear perception of how to conduct post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) and without suspecting the eventual troubling findings. Post-legislative scrutiny has not previously been done in Cabo Verde, partly because of the inexperience of this democratic parliament, partly because PLS is a rather recent and still underdeveloped legislative activity anchored in oversight and legislation functions. In 2014 and 2015, Women’s Caucus conducted PLS of the GBV Law finding that the government had not enacted the necessary implementation rules to enforce this law, which hampered budget allocations and funding. According to the country’s legislative process this should have taken place within 10 months of the law’s approval. This study describes and discusses how the post-legislative scrutiny of the GBV Law was conducted and the lessons learned through this pioneering process in Cabo Verde’s parliament.


Elisabete Azevedo-Harman
Elisabete Azevedo-Harman is Professor on legislative and political institutions in Angolan and Mozambican universities, political advisor, international expert on parliamentary and institutional development. Currently is a senior consultant of the National Assembly of Angola.

Ricardo Godinho Gomes
Ricardo Godinho Gomes is a political scientist in the field of democratic governance since 2006 for UNDP, more specifically in electoral assistance, parliamentary strengthening and public finance management. He is a UNDP programme manager and he was the head of the management units of the project in support of electoral cycles in PALOP and Timor-Leste (2010-2013) and the Pro PALOP-TL SAI (2014-2017).
Article

Retrospective Policy Evaluation at the European Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords European parliament, EU legislation, post-legislative scrutiny, scrutiny of the executive, Better Regulation
Authors José Luis Rufas Quintana and Irmgard Anglmayer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Parliament (EP) has become an active player in the evaluation of EU policy in recent years. In particular, the creation of a dedicated impact assessment capacity (both ex-ante and ex-post) within parliament’s administration, and the adoption of new rules for committees’ preparation of ‘implementation reports’ has led to an institutionalization of parliament’s evaluation activities. This article discusses the rationale for, and practice of, the European Parliament’s policy evaluation system in the context of the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda. It explains how, when and why the European Parliament performs retrospective evaluation. Moreover, it reflects on the complementary role of parliament’s evaluation work with regard to that of the European Commission and, finally, examines the value it adds in terms of accountability and agenda-setting.


José Luis Rufas Quintana
José Luis Rufas Quintana is Head of the Ex-post Evaluation Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service.

Irmgard Anglmayer
Irmgard Anglmayer works as a policy analyst in the Ex-post Evaluation Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of the authors and any opinions expressed herein should not be taken to represent an official position of the European Parliament.
Article

Better Regulation and Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords parliaments, post-legislative scrutiny, better regulation, European Union, legislation, regulation, democracy
Authors Davor Jancic
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyses the manner in which the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda impacts pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny by national parliaments, as two important dimensions of their function of democratic control over EU decision making. To this end, the article critically assesses the institutional arrangements and procedures foreseen under the Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package and examines the 2017 review of the Better Regulation Agenda, which is a fresh push towards its enhancement. The article is structured as follows. After an overview of the legal grounding and evolution of better regulation in EU law, the analysis surveys the implications for parliaments of the Juncker Commission’s package of reforms, which are laid out in a Communication and implemented through a set of guidelines, a refurbished toolbox for practitioners, a revised Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), and an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking adopted in 2016. On this basis, the article discusses post-legislative scrutiny of EU legislation on its own merits as well as from the perspective of its relationship with pre-legislative scrutiny. The latter is important since it is the most efficient way for parliaments to influence the contents of EU policies. The article concludes that the Better Regulation Agenda maintains the status quo in domestic parliamentary participation in EU affairs and misses the opportunity to fortify the latter’s European embeddedness.


Davor Jancic
Dr Davor Jancic is Lecturer in Law, Director of the English & European Law LLB programme, Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in a Decentralized Setting

Opportunities from Alcoholic Drinks Regulation in Kenya

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords affordability, alcohol, availability, enforcement, licensing, marketing, post-legislative scrutiny, regulation, regulatory impact, taxation
Authors Francis A. Aywa and Gabriel K. Ndung’u
AbstractAuthor's information

    Irresponsible alcohol consumption is a complicated regulatory issue globally. Governments’ regulatory regimes for the alcoholic drinks sector are primarily concerned with issues such as control of the production, sale, and use of alcoholic drinks for purposes of safeguarding the health of the individual in view of the dangers of excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks. This article is intended to offer insights on post-legislative scrutiny by drawing on lessons from alcoholic drinks regulation in Kenya. Post-legislative scrutiny as a methodology largely reviews government action or inaction and consequently proposes measures to be undertaken for purposes of managing the effective implementation of its policies and abiding by legal obligations in relation to regulatory frameworks and actions. The intention is to highlight the failures and insufficiencies of the different approaches on alcohol regulation and the manner in which they have been utilized to regulate and control abuse of alcoholic drinks. By comparing regulatory outcomes with the intended policy outcomes and design of regulatory regimes the authors make the case for the primacy of post-regulatory scrutiny and to provide suggestions on how it can be improved in settings such as Kenya’s.


Francis A. Aywa
Francis A. Aywa is Team Leader of DAI’s Deepening Democracy Programme and former Chief of Party of SUNY’s Kenya Parliamentary Strengthening Programme.

Gabriel K. Ndung’u
Gabriel K. Ndung’u is a Legislative Development Specialist and former Deputy Chief of Party of SUNY’s Kenya Parliamentary Programme.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny as a Form of Executive Oversight

Tools and Practices in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords scrutiny of law enforcement, ex-post impact assessment, parliamentary oversight of the executive, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parliaments’ engagement in post-legislative scrutiny can be considered either as an extension of the legislative function or within the framework of the oversight of the executive. This article makes use of the latter view to assess how parliaments in Europe approach post-legislative scrutiny and to which extent this function can be regarded as a form of executive oversight. Although rules and practices of parliaments in this realm are remarkably heterogeneous, the focus on some selected parliaments (Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and the European Parliament) reveals three different conceptual categories. In the ‘basic’ approach (passive scrutinizers), parliaments limit their role solely to the assessment of the ex-post scrutiny performed by the government and external agencies. Differently, parliaments willing to engage in a more proactive approach might choose either to act on an informal basis, establishing ad hoc research/evaluation administrative units (informal scrutinizers) or to address post-legislative scrutiny in a formal and highly institutionalized manner (formal scrutinizers). As a matter of fact, the practise of parliaments often combines characters of different categories. While in all of these approaches post-legislative scrutiny shows potential for executive oversight, only the third can potentially lead to a kind of ‘hard’ oversight.


Elena Griglio
Dr Elena Griglio is a Senior Parliamentary Official, Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor, Luiss Guido Carli University.
Article

Access_open The Conduit between Technological Change and Regulation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords technology, socio-technological change, money, windmill, data
Authors Marta Katarzyna Kołacz and Alberto Quintavalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how the law has approached disparate socio-technological innovations over the centuries. Precisely, the primary concern of this paper is to investigate the timing of regulatory intervention. To do so, the article makes a selection of particular innovations connected with money, windmills and data storage devices, and analyses them from a historical perspective. The individual insights from the selected innovations should yield a more systematic view on regulation and technological innovations. The result is that technological changes may be less momentous, from a regulatory standpoint, than social changes.


Marta Katarzyna Kołacz
Marta Katarzyna Kołacz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Alberto Quintavalla
Alberto Quintavalla, LL.M., Ph.D. Candidate in the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    In this paper I propose to analyse the binary notion of personal data and highlight its limits, in order to propose a different conception of personal data. From a risk regulation perspective, the binary notion of personal data is not particularly fit for purpose, considering that data collection and information flows are tremendously big and complex. As a result, the use of a binary system to determine the applicability of EU data protection law may be a simplistic approach. In an effort of bringing physics and law together, certain principles elaborated within the quantum theory are surprisingly applicable to data protection law, and can be used as guidance to shed light on many of today’s data complexities. Lastly, I will discuss the implications and the effects that certain processing operations may have on the possibility of qualifying certain data as personal. In other terms, how the chances to identify certain data as personal is dependent upon the processing operations that a data controller might put in place.


Alessandro El Khoury
Alessandro El Khoury, LLM, Legal and Policy Officer, DG Health & Food Safety, European Commission.
Article

Access_open Fostering Worker Cooperatives with Blockchain Technology: Lessons from the Colony Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords blockchain, collaborative economy, cooperative governance, decentralised governance, worker cooperatives
Authors Morshed Mannan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, there has been growing policy support for expanding worker ownership of businesses in the European Union. Debates on stimulating worker ownership are a regular feature of discussions on the collaborative economy and the future of work, given anxieties regarding the reconfiguration of the nature of work and the decline of standardised employment contracts. Yet, worker ownership, in the form of labour-managed firms such as worker cooperatives, remains marginal. This article explains the appeal of worker cooperatives and examines the reasons why they continue to be relatively scarce. Taking its cue from Henry Hansmann’s hypothesis that organisational innovations can make worker ownership of firms viable in previously untenable circumstances, this article explores how organisational innovations, such as those embodied in the capital and governance structure of Decentralised (Autonomous) Organisations (D(A)Os), can potentially facilitate the growth of LMFs. It does so by undertaking a case study of a blockchain project, Colony, which seeks to create decentralised, self-organising companies where decision-making power derives from high-quality work. For worker cooperatives, seeking to connect globally dispersed workers through an online workplace, Colony’s proposed capital and governance structure, based on technological and game theoretic insight may offer useful lessons. Drawing from this pre-figurative structure, self-imposed institutional rules may be deployed by worker cooperatives in their by-laws to avoid some of the main pitfalls associated with labour management and thereby, potentially, vitalise the formation of the cooperative form.


Morshed Mannan
Morshed Mannan, LLM (Adv.), PhD Candidate, Company Law Department, Institute of Private Law, Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Access_open Privatising Law Enforcement in Social Networks: A Comparative Model Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords user generated content, public and private responsibilities, intermediary liability, hate speech and fake news, protection of fundamental rights
Authors Katharina Kaesling
AbstractAuthor's information

    These days, it appears to be common ground that what is illegal and punishable offline must also be treated as such in online formats. However, the enforcement of laws in the field of hate speech and fake news in social networks faces a number of challenges. Public policy makers increasingly rely on the regu-lation of user generated online content through private entities, i.e. through social networks as intermediaries. With this privat-ization of law enforcement, state actors hand the delicate bal-ancing of (fundamental) rights concerned off to private entities. Different strategies complementing traditional law enforcement mechanisms in Europe will be juxtaposed and analysed with particular regard to their respective incentive structures and consequential dangers for the exercise of fundamental rights. Propositions for a recommendable model honouring both pri-vate and public responsibilities will be presented.


Katharina Kaesling
Katharina Kaesling, LL.M. Eur., is research coordinator at the Center for Advanced Study ‘Law as Culture’, University of Bonn.
Part II Private Justice

ADR-Rooted ODR Design in Europe

A Bet for the Future

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, dispute system design, European law, redesign of ADR systems, artificial intelligence
Authors Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The new European regulatory framework has a greater significance than it expressly declares, both for the development of online dispute resolution (ODR) in Europe and for the structure of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entities of the Member States. A close reading of the ADR Directive reveals an implicit but clear mandate for the development and intensive use of ODR tools by certified ADR entities that could lead to the creation of new ODR platforms. The new ADR/ODR regulatory framework shows a clear tendency to produce important transformations in the traditional ADR structure in every Member State. This article aims to identify criteria for the development of ODR in Europe and to discover the European law’s implicit mandates related to the redesign of the ADR structure in the Member States, while assessing the role of the Member States, the ADR entities and the European Union itself.


Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
Fernando Esteban de la Rosa is Chair in Private International Law, University of Granada, Spain; NCTDR fellow.
Part II Private Justice

Using Technology and ADR Methods to Enhance Access to Justice

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, ADR, mediation, online court, e-court, consumer ADR, CADR, CDR, ombudsman
Authors Pablo Cortes
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how technology and extrajudicial processes can provide a solution to the access-to-justice problem for self-represented litigants. The article first observes the need for efficient dispute resolution processes based on a wider concept of access to justice and argues for greater integration amongst courts and extrajudicial bodies, especially in the consumer sphere where dispute resolution bodies are currently undergoing an institutionalization process as a result of recent EU legislation. Accordingly, it is argued that access to justice for consumers will only be achieved if they have access to either an accountable and effective extrajudicial scheme that offers adjudication or a truly user-friendly and accessible online court that incorporates alternative dispute resolution techniques as the United Kingdom has endeavoured to deliver. To that end, this article examines the policy options for the English Online Court with a particular focus on the challenges faced by litigants in person. Finally, this article submits that dispute system design changes need to be informed by empirical research and a holistic policy strategy on dispute resolution.


Pablo Cortes
Pablo Cortes is Professor of Civil Justice, Leicester Law School, University of Leicester.
Part I Courts and ODR

Recent Development of Internet Courts in China

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Internet court, ODR, AI, blockchain, regulation, fourth party
Authors Xuhui Fang
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online dispute resolution (ODR) is growing out of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and pushing the envelope for resolving online disputes in the Internet courts in China. Recently, the Chinese Internet courts admitted blockchain-based evidence and applied artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, big data and virtual reality (VR) technology. The rapid development of Internet courts in China has implications for regulating AI-related technologies, which are playing the role of the ‘fourth party,’ and the interplay between the ‘third party’ and the ‘fourth party.’


Xuhui Fang
Xuhui Fang is a law Professor at Nanchang University, NCTDR fellow, associated researcher at Cyberjustice of University of Montreal, mediator of International Commercial Mediation Center for Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing, mediator at Futian District Court of Shenzhen People’s Court, senior counsel of E-Better Business in Shenzhen.
Part II Private Justice

Reputational Feedback Systems and Consumer Rights

Improving the European Online Redress System

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords reputational feedback systems, consumer’s protection, dispute resolution, ADR, ODR, enforceability, ecommerce, European redress system small claims
Authors Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Union single market needs to tackle an outstanding issue to boost competitiveness and growth: a trust-based redress framework that ensures the effectiveness of consumers’ rights. The current disparities among dispute resolution mechanisms, added to the fact that in practice many do not guarantee participation and enforceability, are serious obstacles to this goal. Trust and the integration of certain dispute avoidance tools added to the regulation of some common enforcement mechanisms are key issues in the field of consumer protection. The goal of this article is to offer some insights within the context of the European Union legislative proposals aimed at improving the current redress system.


Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa is Professor of Law, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and member of the National Center or Technology and Dispute Resolution, Massachusetts, Amherst.
Article

Access_open Keeping complexity alive: restorative and responsive approaches to culture change

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, responsive regulation, relational governance, complexity
Authors Gale Burford
AbstractAuthor's information

    The human services are fraught with history of failure related to grasping oversimplified, across-the-board solutions that are expected to work in all situations for all groups of people. This article reviews some of the long-standing and current challenges for governance of programmes in maintaining cultures that safeguard restorative and responsive standards, principles and values, thereby amplifying and enhancing their centrality to relational engagement within families, groups, communities and organisations. Despite their potential for helping groups of people grapple with the complex dynamics that impact their lives, restorative justice approaches are seen as no less vulnerable to being whittled down to technical routines through practitioner and sponsor colonisation than other practices. This article explores some of the ways culture can work to erode and support the achievement of restorative standards, and why restorative justice and regulation that is responsive to the ongoing experiences of affected persons offers unique paths forward for achieving justice. Included in this exploration are the ways that moral panic and top-down, command-and-control management narrow relational approaches to tackling complex problems and protect interests that reproduce social and economic inequality.


Gale Burford
Gale Burford is Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA. Contact author: gburford@uvm.edu. Disclosure statement: There are no financial conflicts of interest.
Article

Access_open ‘A Continuous Process of Becoming’: The Relevance of Qualitative Research into the Storylines of Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords storylines of law, qualitative research, law in action, law in books
Authors Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
AbstractAuthor's information

    The maxim ‘law in books and law in action’ relays an implicit dichotomy, and though the constitutive nature of law is nowadays commonly professed, the reflex remains to use law in books as an autonomous starting point. Law however, it is argued in this article, has a storyline that commences before its institutional formalisation. Law as ‘a continuous process of becoming’ encompasses both law in books and law in action, and law in action encompasses timelines both before and after the formal coming about of law. To fully understand law, it is necessary to understand the entire storyline of law. Qualitative studies in law and society are well equipped to offer valuable insights on the facets of law outside the books. The insights are not additional to doctrinal understanding, but part and parcel of it. To illustrate this, an ethnographic case study of local bylaws regulating an ethnically diverse public space of everyday life is expanded upon. The case study is used to demonstrate the insights qualitative data yields with regard to the dynamics in which law comes about, and how these dynamics continue for law in action after law has made the books. This particular case study moreover exemplifies how law is one of many truths in the context in which it operates, and how formalised law is reflective of the power constellations that have brought it forth.


Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
Dr. mr. Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier, PhD, is assistant professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Making Sense of the Law and Society Movement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords law and society, sociology of law, sociolegal, empirical legal studies
Authors Daniel Blocq and Maartje van der Woude
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims to deepen scholarly understanding of the Law and Society Movement (L&S) and thereby strengthen debates about the relation between Empirical Legal Studies (ELS) and L&S. The article departs from the observation that ELS, understood as an initiative that emerged in American law schools in the early 2000s, has been quite successful in generating more attention to the empirical study of law and legal institutions in law schools, both in- and outside the US. In the early years of its existence, L&S – another important site for the empirical study of law and legal institutions – also had its center of gravity inside the law schools. But over time, it shifted towards the social sciences. This article discusses how that happened, and more in general explains how L&S became ever more diverse in terms of substance, theory and methods.


Daniel Blocq
Daniel Blocq is assistant professor at Leiden Law School.

Maartje van der Woude
Maartje van der Woude is professor at Leiden Law School.
Article

Smart Enforcement

Theory and Practice

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords regulatory inspections, regulatory enforcement, environmental regulations, smart regulation
Authors Dr. Florentin Blanc and Prof. Michael Faure
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is an increasing attention both on how inspections and enforcement efforts with respect to regulatory breaches can be made as effective as possible. Regulatory breaches refer to violations of norms that have been prescribed in public regulation, such as, for example, environmental regulation, food safety regulation or regulation aiming at occupational health and safety. The enforcement of this regulation is qualified as regulatory enforcement. It has been claimed that inspections should not be random, but based on risk and target-specific violators and violations. Such a “smart” enforcement policy would be able to increase the effectiveness of enforcement policy. Policy makers are enthusiastic about this new strategy, but less is known about the theoretical foundations, nor about the empirical evidence. This article presents the theoretical foundations for smart enforcement as well as some empirics. Moreover, the conditions under which smart enforcement could work are identified, but also a few potential limits are presented.


Dr. Florentin Blanc
Dr. Florentin Blanc is a consultant to the World Bank Group, OECD, and governments on investment climate and business environment.

Prof. Michael Faure
Prof. Michael Faure is Academic Director Maastricht European institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO), Maastricht University, Professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law, Maastricht University and Academic Director of Ius Commune Research School, Maastricht University. He is also Professor of Comparative Law and Economics at Erasmus Law School (Rotterdam).

Elena Ammannato
Elena Ammannato is a PhD and research assistant, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Como (Italy). Contact author: elena.ammannato@gmail.com.
Article

Measuring the restorativeness of restorative justice: the case of the Mosaica Jerusalem Programme

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, criminal justice, criminal law taxonomy, victims, offenders
Authors Tali Gal, Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg and Guy Enosh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study uses a Jerusalem-based restorative justice programme as a case study to characterise community restorative justice (CRJ) conferences. On the basis of the Criminal Law Taxonomy, an analytical instrument that includes seventeen measurable characteristics, it examines the procedural elements of the conferences, their content, goals and the role of participants. The analysis uncovers an unprecedented multiplicity of conference characteristics, including the level of flexibility, the existence of victim-offender dialogue, the involvement of the community and a focus on rehabilitative, future-oriented outcomes. The findings offer new insights regarding the theory and practice of CRJ and the gaps between the two.


Tali Gal
Tali Gal is Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer, School of Criminology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.

Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg
Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg is Visiting Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law (2017-2018) and Associate Professor, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Guy Enosh
Guy Enosh is Associated Professor, Faculty of Welfare and Health Sciences, School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel. Contact author: tgal1@univ.haifa.ac.il. Note: The first two authors have contributed equally; the third author contributed to the methodology. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Gali Pilowsky-Menkes and Rotem Spiegler for outstanding data collection assistance. We are also grateful to Caroline Cooper, Netanel Dagan and Adi Libson for insightful comments. We are particularly indebted to the Mosaica workers and volunteers who provided us access to their materials while ensuring the privacy of all parties involved.
Article

Three Tiers, Exceedingly Persuasive Justifications and Undue Burdens

Searching for the Golden Mean in US Constitutional Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
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
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
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