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Article

Access_open Sustainable Enjoyment of Economic and Social Rights in Times of Crisis

Obstacles to Overcome and Bridges to Cross

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords social and economic rights, austerity measures, Euro crisis, defaulting countries
Authors Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2008, the European Union was hit by the most severe financial downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. One of the major consequences of this phenomenon was the deterioration in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic and social rights. While it is indisputable that the crisis itself was directly correlated to the erosion of such rights, the conditions attached to the loan agreements between defaulting countries and the three lending institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Commission, have negatively affected the rights under consideration. Loans came with strict austerity measures, such as public expenditure cuts in the realm of, inter alia, public services, benefits and social security. This article considers the deterioration in the enjoyment of economic and social rights by Union inhabitants and particularly the anti-crisis strategy adopted by the European Union, which, as will be demonstrated, directly contributed to this deterioration. The stance of the three institutions was facilitated by the less than proactive, but improving, positioning of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case law, which will be assessed. It must be noted that it is not the three institutions acting alone in this process; the Member States are the ones who agree to the loans and their conditions and implement austerity measures on the ground. However, as will be reflected, the practical role and actual input of the countries themselves in this procedure is limited. The central theoretical tenet of the article is that the European Union is re-shifting its direction to the almost absolute adoption of an economic constitution, with little regard to its social counterpart. Within the aforementioned framework, this article seeks to assess the status of economic and social rights in a crisis-hit Union, provide a theoretical explanation for this occurrence and put forth possibilities for positive change, placing the protection and promotion of economic and social rights at the heart of any responses to crisis as a method to ensure their sustainable protection effectively.


Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
Dr Natalie Alkiviadou is a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.
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.
Article

Federalization through Rights in the EU

A Legal Opportunities Approach

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Federalization, Integration, Legal change, Legal opportunities, Litigation, Scope of application
Authors Marie-Pierre Granger
AbstractAuthor's information

    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 Reliability of Evidence in Evidence-Based Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords evidence-based legislation, Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), reliable evidence, Professor Robert Seidman
Authors Sean J. Kealy and Alex Forney
AbstractAuthor's information

    As evidence-based legislation develops, and as technology puts more information at our fingertips, there should be a better understanding of what exactly constitutes reliable evidence. Robert and Ann Seidman devoted their professional careers to developing the evidence-based Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology and teaching it to legislative drafters around the world. Although ILTAM was firmly grounded in – and driven by – evidence, the question becomes what evidence is reliable and a worthy input for the methodology. Further, how can the drafter avoid the misuses of evidence such as confirmation bias and naïve beliefs? We aim to give a guide for using evidence by offering examples of evidence-based legislation in practice and through a proposed hierarchy of evidence from most to least reliable:

    1. Experiments within the jurisdiction / lessons from other jurisdictions.

    2. Information on a topic or issue that was formally requested by the legislature or produced to the legislature under oath or under the penalties of perjury.

    3. Studies / information provided by a government agency.

    4. Expert or scientific studies.

    5. Economic or mathematical models and statistics.

    6. Information provided by special interests.

    7. Stories, apocrypha and uncorroborated tales.


    We hope that this hierarchy provides a starting point for discussion to refine and improve evidence-based legislation.


Sean J. Kealy
Sean J. Kealy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Legislative Clinics, Boston University School of Law. This article expands upon a concept that he first wrote about in Designing Legislation (APKN, 2011). Professor Kealy wishes to thank Professor Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, and Professor William W. Buzbee, Georgetown Law School, for reading and commenting on this article at the American Association of Law Schools 2017 Conference.

Alex Forney
Alex Forney earned his Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law, 2016.
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