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Hungary’s Unconstitutional Constitution

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
4:00 AM
International Institute Room 1636, 1080 S. University Ave

presented by Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs and Director, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University

In the last year and a half, the newly elected Hungarian government has been dismantling the post-communist system of constitutional checks and balances to create a state that centralizes political control in the hands of one political party. In its place, the governing party has enacted a new constitution and a host of supporting laws that eliminate almost all checks on power. In this lecture, Scheppele will describe the new constitutional system and explain why Hungary’s new legal order is “unconstitutional” when assessed by the standards of formal validity, democratic legitimacy, European constitutionalism and Hungary’s constitutional traditions.

Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values as well as Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University. She joined the Princeton faculty in 2005 after nearly a decade on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was the John J. O'Brien Professor of Comparative Law. From 1994-1998, Scheppele lived in Budapest, doing research at the Constitutional Court of Hungary and teaching at both the University of Budapest and at Central European University, where she was a founding director of the Program in Gender and Culture. Scheppele’s work concentrates on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress. After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia, living in both places for extended periods. After 9/11, Scheppele has researched the effects of the international "war on terror" on constitutional protections around the world. She studied the transition of countries from police states to constitutional rule-of-law states and after the Twin Towers fell, she studies the process in reverse. Her many publications on both post-1989 constitutional transitions and on post-9/11 constitutional challenges have appeared in law reviews, social science journals and in many languages (including Russian, Hungarian and French). Her new book The International State of Emergency: The Rise of Global Security Law (Harvard University Press) is forthcoming in 2013.

Live feed will be available on event website

Sponsors: WCED, CES, CREES