On March 6 Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) was honored to host a public lecture by Professor Joseph Weiler themed “Judicial Review in the Contemporary World - From Democracy to Identity”.
Speaking in front of distinguished lawyers, diplomats, faculty and students, Prof. Weiler described the changes judicial review underwent since the WWII by using a metaphor of waves – after the WWII and the fall of the Berlin wall, all new EU member states adopted robust judicial review and their domestic courts readily adopted the international norms, integrating them into their respective domestic judicial systems. Now, a third, ambivalent wave is happening, when the local constitutional courts are resisting internationalization, and the causal thesis is that this so-called identitarian jurisprudence is a reaction to the first two waves. “I refuse to accept that millions of Europeans have suddenly became fascists or idiots. It doesn’t help to demonize them,” Weiler said.
Weiler thinks, that there is a moral value in identity, and that in Europe the human dignity is the main value, opposite Americas, where human liberty is valued more. “Each of us has an equal worth of somebody else, but each of us has an unique identity. If someone says that someone else is exactly like us, this is an insult to our dignity.” The same, Weiler argues, is also true in collective identity. If you threaten that, you take away something important of that identity.”
1st and 2nd waves of judicial review valorized individual over collective. The current discourse is all about the individual, the culture of duties being displaced. Weiler believes we are paying the price of secularization – “before, every week on Sundays there was a voice of public duty,” he says.
Prof. Weiler gave also a seminar on Legal Realism on March 7, where a selected audience of lawyers and students had a chance to hear his views on the subject, as well as comments on a famous case "Lautsi vs Italy". His conclusive argument on the case can be found on Youtube under Lautsi vs Italy.
J.H.H. Weiler is University Professor at NYU Law School and Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard. Until recently he served as President of the European University Institute, Florence. Previously he served as Manley Hudson Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. Prof. Weiler is Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) and the International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON).
The lecture by Prof. Weiler was the third public lecture in a series of four organized by RGSL in cooperation with Ellex Kļaviņš in the 2018/2019 academic year where distinguished academics and industry experts present topics of importance to our society and industry. These events offer a unique opportunity to engage with key influencers, experts and officials on today`s critical issues that not only have a direct impact on day to day lives but also globally.