The Constitution 2020 Conference opened powerfully with a panel that engaged questions essential to defining a vision of progressive constitutionalism: Who ‘counts’ as American? And what kind of law ‘counts’ as American?
The panelists, along with their moderator, Bruce Ackerman, tested the boundaries between citizen and non-citizen, and between U.S. and international law, in the context of national security, foreign policy, immigration enforcement, and discrimination against minorities since September 11, 2001.
The panel opened with Aziz Huq (University of Chicago Law School) and Muneer Ahmad (Yale Law School), who tackled issues on citizenship, personhood, and advocacy. Their comments framed an approach to the question of who ‘counts’ as American. Then Jon Michaels (University of California Law School – Los Angeles) and Oona Hathaway (Yale Law School) reflected on the need to reintroduce democracy to determine what kind of law ‘counts’ as American law. Their proposals paid special attention to checking executive power in national security and foreign policy matters.
Video Courtesy of Yale Law School
Since September 11, 2001, Muslim Americans have had a common encounter with discrimination that has often placed them outside the circle of who ‘counts’ as American. While discrimination can and has alienated Muslims, Aziz Huq proposed that this shared experience also has the power to form the otherwise diverse and fragmented community into a single interest group that can reclaim core constitutional rights, such as free speech, freedom of religion, and privacy.
As credible advocates for constitutional change, Muslim Americans can powerfully advocate to base counter-terrorism operations on trust and cooperation with the Muslim community, rather than on surveillance and suspicion. Huq urged that we open foreign policy decision-making to a diversity of voices, including Muslim Americans, because “without voice, loyalty often erodes.”
Posted on November 7, 2009 @ 11:10 pm
Executive Authority in a post-Westphalian World: How Global Trends Influence U.S. Separation of Powers
Crosspost from Balkinization
The rise of Executive power in the post-9/11 era can be attributed to many things. Chief among them are strident assertions of unfettered Article II powers during times of crisis, the legislative flurry to satisfy the President’s wish list in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and the notion that combating al Qaeda requires working on the so-called “dark side” of the law.
At the end of the day, though, what might change the constitutional landscape in terms of Executive authority and separation of powers more than anything else are the dynamic, organic trends toward greater globalization, liberalization of political economies, and technological revolution. These trends deemphasize national boundaries, enable non-statist transnational connections, and promote markets over bureaucracies – and thus they are often thought to erode state authority and empower non-state actors, including al Qaeda.
Of late, the Executive has itself adapted to these trends and seized upon opportunities created by these movements to aggrandize power vis-à-vis the courts and Congress, patterning many of its national-security initiatives on more fluid and unconventional arrangements. Its selective harnessing of these fluid arrangements and identities has enabled our military, intelligence, and homeland security officials to operate in the less regulated interstices of the national and international legal grid. This grid is currently calibrated to the statist, Westphalian system where national governments monopolize the use of force, and conflict is between nation-states and understood in terms of defending clearly defined national boundaries.
Posted on October 1, 2009 @ 3:27 pm
The Constitution in 2020 is a companion website to The Constitution in 2020 (Oxford University Press 2009). Here you will find ten sample chapters from the book, essays about the future of the U.S. Constitution, discussions of current constitutional issues, a bibliography and resources for further study.
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