Constitutionalism and protest. The case of protests of November 21 in Colombia

On November 21, 2019 (21N), a large national strike was called in Colombia for the measures that the government was going to take in terms of pensions, taxes and health in what was informally known as the “Duque package”. The government decided to issue a series of executive decrees that gave mayors the possibility of decreeing the curfew and using the ESMAD, which is the police responsible for dissolving the protests. During the protests, which lasted almost a month, there was the death of student Dylan Cruz with an unconventional police weapon, as well as arbitrary detentions, and mistreatment of protesters, especially students, who was denounced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Humans Rights in their Report for the Situation of human rights in Colombia in 2019. The paper will analyze the case of these protests within the framework of constitutional law and the right to protest.

Trust, Distrust and the Foreign Relations Law of the Weimar Republic

My contribution will start with shortly analysing continuity and change in the status of international law under the Weimar Constitution as compared to its forerunner, the ‘Bismarck Constitution’. In the main part of the paper, I will explore the tension between international law and mass democracy. Here, I will keep a focus on the special situation of a newly established order which seeks international trust and a widespread public distrust towards Versailles and international and foreign influences. International treaties of those days, in particular the Treaty of Versailles, and membership in international organisations such as the League of Nations and, in particular, the International Labor Organisation had significant implications for domestic economic and social orders. In that sense, international law, to an unknown extent, reigned into the domestic law of (democratic) states, creating unprecedented tensions between international negotiation processes and domestic audiences.

The role of the Office of the Attorney General in the protests of 21N in Colombia in order to protect Human Rights.

The Office of the Attorney General also fulfills the role of reporting cases of human rights violations in Colombia. With the emergence of the protests of November 21 in Colombia, the Attorney General's Office took an active role in defending and reporting cases of human rights violations by the police and other State agencies. In the paper I will make an analysis of the measures taken by this agency in order to guarantee the rights of assembly, protest and demonstration.

Constitutional Prospects, Constitutional Pathologies: Otto Kirchheimer’s Weimar Moments

For Otto Kirchheimer (1905-1965), Carl Schmitt’s favorite socialist doctoral student, the catastrophic failure of Weimar parliamentarianism was not only a moment of profound disillusionment, but also a moment of democratic realignment and recalibration. His early writings provide an astute observation and analysis of the Weimar Constitution’s rise and decline. In my paper, I shall revisit Kirchheimer’s long neglected Weimar writings and discuss the relevance of his work for present and future “Weimar moments“. I shall also take a closer look on 1968’s Kirchheimer-Renaissance in Germany, prompted by the 1965 German edition of his “Political Justice: The Use of Legal Procedures for Political Ends” (Princeton 1961), a book which inspired intense interest in Kirchheimer’s Weimar years in the ranks of the critical left, but also among more mainstream protagonists of legal academia and within political science.

Inclusion, Cities and the Law: Rethinking Urban Planning in the Context of Increased Legal Action in Colombia

Since the 1990s, a new Constitution and progressive legal frameworks in Colombia facilitated the transition from a centralized and modernist urban planning paradigm to one where democratization, participation and the “social and ecological function of property” were privileged. However, thirty years later, studies show that participatory planning has had a limited impact in addressing the country’s heightened social and environmental injustices. While several Colombian mayors and planners have sought local and global recognition by constructing and circulating their cities as international “best practices,” vulnerable populations continue to be excluded from everyday planning decisions. The paper develop a typology of recurrent themes and actors involved in municipal legal action in Colombia and analyze select cases in Bogota. We conclude reflecting on the possibilities and limits of using legal actions to make urban planning processes more inclusive in cities of the Global South

Social-democratic approaches in Weimar constitutional theory: Between state theory and legal theory

The first part of this paper will analyze the social Rechtsstaat strategy, which was propounded during Weimar by Heller and Neumann. I will present their argument that a concept of social freedom could be reached through the Weimar parliamentary state and the Weimar constitution. The second part will demonstrate Neumann’s critique to his former strategy and to the overall stance of the Weimar SPD. Neumann’s critique could be seen in his works between 1933 and 1945. Moreover, I will delve into Kirchheimer’s critique to the Social Rechtsstaat strategy in his works during Weimar, in view also of the Weimar historical context. Through this juxtaposition, I will examine whether the Social Rechtsstaat strategy could provide with an efficient defence of the Weimar Constitution and of the Weimar Republic in view of the contradiction that was played out in Weimar between political democracy and capitalist economy.

The Party Fragmentation Paradox in Brazil: A Shield Against Authoritarianism?

Brazil features possibly the most fragmented party system in the world. Currently, there are 25 parties in the Lower House and 16 in the Senate. Presidents need thereby to build stable and disciplined political coalitions or they will face serious difficulties in advancing their agenda. Such a high level of party fragmentation, which is a structural dysfunctionality, may paradoxically serve as a shield against radical and authoritarian intents by the executive power. Brazil may be experiencing such a paradox: a dysfunctionality of its political system may well function to protect democracy against a president whose authoritarian mindset is undisputed. How parliaments behave and react to the rise of an authoritarian figure in the executive power may possibly play a more fundamental role in protecting democracy than constitutional courts themselves. This paper explores this still underexplored phenomenon as an invitation for further comparative analyses.

The Polish Weimar Moments and the Constitutional Crisis

There are at least two potential Weimar Moments in Polish constitutional history. The constitution of 1921 faced the particular task of rebuilding a nation. For that purpose, it featured a strong parliamentary component. However, it lasted only for five years before constitutions with greater presidential powers replaced it. The 1990s brought the desire to regain independence and democracy while keeping and expanding social equality. Transformative constitution of the 1997. Sought international ascertainment in European integration. However, this desire, together with financial vulnerability, exposed it to the influence of neoliberal constitutionalism, leading to insoluble contradictions. The paper will analyse to what extent the current constitutional crisis in Poland has been framed by them.

Constitutionalism. A quasi-pure procedural justice approach.

A democratic government should be restricted by law. That’s the main idea of constitutionalism. The procedures established to take social decisions in a constitutional democracy must respect some limitations, like fundamental rights. The logic of constitutionalism is the logic of the procedural.

The legitimacy (justice or fairness) of a procedure can be explained using the scheme proposed by Rawls. There are procedures whose results can be evaluated with reference only to the rules that define the procedure itself. Additionally, there are procedures that can be examined with regard to criteria external to them. In this paper I will the quasi-pure procedural approach that admits that is substantive (not procedural) criteria external to political procedures, like human rights principles, but these criteria and the demands that derives from these, can be justified and applied in very different ways or admit varying degrees of compliance.

The Weimar Model from the Italian Viewpoint

The presentation will address first, briefly, how Italian legal culture approached the Weimar Model over the 20s and 30s, focusing then on what substantive influence it has had on the Italian Constitution. The Ministry for the constituent, as a matter of fact, published in 1946 a series of documents called “Text and Constitutional Documents” and one of them was the Weimar Constitution. The debates of the constituent assembly therefore reveal the circulation of ideas and shed light on current constitutional developments.