Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Schwöbel: The Appeal of the Project of Global Constitutionalism to Public International Lawyers

Christine Schwöbel (Univ. of Liverpool - Law) has published The Appeal of the Project of Global Constitutionalism to Public International Lawyers (German Law Journal, Vol. 13, no. 1, 2012). Here's the abstract:
The discourse on global constitutionalism has been gaining momentum among public international lawyers. This paper endeavors to understand the discourse by focusing on international lawyers, and seeks to explain what it is that draws them to the debate. It emerges that the idea of global constitutionalism embodies important concerns of public international lawyers about the current status of their field as a result of globalization. I suggest that there are three principal motivations that explain the tenacity of the debate: first, international lawyers are interested in the allocation of power in the international sphere. Constitutionalism seemingly provides a suitable tool for restricting political power through legal expertise, while at the same time constituting power in a globalized world. Second, international lawyers have a deeply entrenched interest in seeing the regulation of international society through law. The pull of this argument lies in the preservation of the status of international law as a profession at the heart of social change. Third, a strong motivation to engage in global constitutionalism is that it may be a means of ensuring the legitimation of international law itself. Global constitutionalism appears to offer the irresistible prospect of awarding legitimacy to international law by providing it with a legal framework with moral authority. These motivations all have in common that they allow international lawyers to declare and perpetuate their own relevance in a globalized world. Lastly, I consider just how irresistible the idea of global constitutionalism is.