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Constitutionalism and populism: national political integration and global legal integration

  • Chris Thornhill (a1)


This article adds to the emergent body of constitutional-theoretical research on populist government. It argues that constitutional analysis has specific importance in explaining the hostility to global legal norms that characterizes many populist or neo-nationalist polities. However, it argues that more classical perspectives in constitutional theory have not provided adequate explanations for this phenomenon. This is because constitutionalism itself misunderstands the sociological foundations of constitutional democracy and it promotes normative models of democracy, based in theories of popular sovereignty and constituent power, which create a legitimational space in which populism can flourish. In contrast, this article sets out a historical-sociological account of national democracy, explaining how democracy has been formed through processes of global norm construction. As a result, the basic subjects imputed to democracy by both constitutionalism and populism only became real on global normative foundations. In advancing these claims, this article presents a global-sociological critique of populism, explaining that populism evolves where the realities of democratic formation enter conflict with the norms of constitutional theory. In so doing, it offers a sociological theory of constitutional democracy that might help to avert democratic self-subversion.


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1 This legal order was established in stages, notably in the UN Charter; the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); the International Covenants of 1966; human rights systems in Europe, Latin America and Africa; the Rome Statute of 1998.

2 An early example is the controversy in the USA about international human rights law in the 1950s, culminating in the proposed Bricker Amendment. See Henkin, L., ‘US Ratification of Human Rights Conventions: The Ghost of Senator Bricker’, 89(2) American Journal of International Law (1995).

3 See chapters by Gábor Halmai and Wojciech Sidurski in M. A. Graber, S. Levinson and M. Tushnet (eds), Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (2018).

4 This can be seen in criticism of the European Court of Human Rights and plans for a British Bill of Rights in the UK, in Donald Trump's strictures against the International Criminal Court, in Venezuela's withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).

5 The political impetus behind Trump's judicial appointments is widely observed. See analysis of the politicization of judicial appointments in Brazil at On Poland, see R. Grzeszczak and I. P. Karolewski, ‘The Rule of Law Crisis in Poland: A New Chapter’, at Ivan Duque, elected President of Colombia in 2018, campaigned on the pledge to dismantle the Constitutional Court, which was historically very open to international law.

6 For the basis of this characterization, see Blokker, P., ‘Varieties of Populist Constitutionalism: The Transnational Dimension’, 20 German Law Journal (2019) 333–4. This article relates to my own analysis in Thornhill, C., ‘Rights and Constituent Power in the Global Constitution’, 10(3) International Journal of Law in Context (2014). See also P. Norris and R. Inglehart, Cultural Backlash. Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism (2019) at 65, 247.

7 Obvious examples are the semi-plebiscitary aspects of constitutional law evident in Venezuela and the UK. Some articles of the Venezuelan constitution of 1999 (especially Arts 6, 62, 70 and 184) are intended to preserve a live constituent power in the state.

8 Most states with neo-nationalist governments have a long history of populism. This does not apply to the UK, but, since 2016, both main parties in the UK have populist wings, strongly committed to discourses of national sovereignty. In fact, the UK can now be seen as one of the purest examples of populist rule, as the current government legitimates itself to a large degree by discrediting formal procedures for political representation and by appealing directly to the popular will.

9 See P. Ignazi, Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe (2002), at 34; C. Mudde, The Ideology of The Extreme Right (2002), at 15; de Lange, S. L., ‘A New Winning Formula? The Programmatic Appeal of the Far Right’, 13(4) Party Politics (2007) 430.

10 See G. Germani, Authoritarianism, Fascism and National Populism (1978), at 218; F. Weffort and A. Quijano, Populismo, marginalización y dependencia. Ensayos de interpretación sociológica (1973), at 113; Vilas, C. M., ‘Latin America Populism: A Structural Approach’, 56(4) Science and Society (1992); Jansen, R. S., ‘Populist Mobilization: A New Theoretical Approach to Populism’, 29(2) Sociological Theory (2011) 90.

11 For summary, see Abts, K. and Rummens, S., ‘Populism versus Democracy’, 55 Political Studies (2007) 411.

12 T. Fournier, From Rhetoric to Action – A Constitutional Analysis of Populism. EUI Department of Law Research Paper No. 2018/08, at 1.

13 See J.-W. Müller, What is Populism? (2017), at 20; S. Issacharoff, ‘Populism versus Democratic Governance’, in M. A. Graber, S. Levinson and M. Tushnet (eds), Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (2018), 453; B. Cannon, Hugo Chávez and the Bolivian Revolution. Populism and Democracy in the Globalized Age (2009), at 77; F. Panizza, ‘Introduction: Populism and the Mirror of Democracy’, in F. Panizza (ed.), Populism and the Mirror of Democracy (2005), 29; B. Arditi, ‘Populism as an Internal Periphery’, in F. Panizza (ed.), Populism and the Mirror of Democracy (2005), 93; T. Ginsburg and A. Z. Huq, How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (2018).

14 E. Laclau, Politics and Ideology. Marxist Theory. Capitalism – Fascism – Populism (1977), at 196–7; T. Tännsjö, Populist Democracy. A Defence (1992), at 61; Canovan, M., ‘Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy’, 47(1) Political Studies (1999) 14; Norris and Inglehart, supra note 6 at 22.

15 M. Tushnet, Taking the Constitution Away from the Courts (1997); Parker, R. D., ‘“Here, the People Rule”: A Constitutional Populist Manifesto’, 27(3) Valparaiso University Law Review (1993).

16 P. Blokker, ‘Populist Constitutionalism’, in C. de la Torre (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Global Populism (2018); P. Blokker, New Democracies in Crisis? A Comparative Constitutional Study of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia (2015), at 41; Corrias, L., ‘Populism in a Constitutional Key: Constituent Power, Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Identity’, 12 European Constitutional Law Review (2016) 8.

17 Brewer-Carías, A. R., ‘Judicial Review in Venezuela’, 45(2) Duquesne Law Review (2007) 440; Landau, D., ‘Populist Constitutions’, 85 University of Chicago Law Review (2016); Urbinati, N., ‘Democracy and Populism’, 5(1) Constellations (1998).

18 Zaccaria, G., ‘The People and Populism’, 31(1) Ratio Juris (2018) 44; Pinelli, C., ‘The Populist Challenge to Constitutional Democracy’, 7 European Constitutional Law Review (2011) 15; Möller, K., ‘Invocatio Populi. Autoritärer und demokratischer Populismus’, 45 Leviathan, Sonderband 34 (2017) 247; Blokker, supra note 6.

19 See classical analysis in P. Worsley, ‘The Concept of Populism’, in G. Ionescu and E. Gellner (eds), Populism. Its Meanings and National Characteristics (1969), 246–7. See also Y. Mény and Y. Surel, ‘The Constitutive Ambiguity of Populism’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge (2002), 7–8; Akkerman, T., ‘Populism and Democracy: Challenge or Pathology’, 38 Acta Politica (2003) 155; Blokker, supra note 16, at 37; Fournier, supra note 12, at 15.

20 See M. Canovan, ‘Taking Politics to the People: Populism as the Ideology of Democracy’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge (2002), 43.

21 Blokker, supra note 6; Blokker, supra note 16, at 6.

22 See Zaccaria, supra note 18.

23 See for example Canovan, supra note 20, at 33.

24 See E.-J. Sieyès, Qu'est-ce que le tiers-état? (1839 [1789]); C. Schmitt, Verfassungslehre (1928); D. Miller, On Nationality (1995); D. Grimm, Die Zukunft der Verfassung II. Auswirkungen von Europäisierung und Globalisierung (2012); M. Loughlin, Foundations of Public Law (2010).

25 Waldron, J., ‘The Core of the Case against Judicial Review’, 115 The Yale Law Journal (2006); R. Bellamy, Political Constitutionalism. A Republican Defence of the Constitutionality of Democracy (2007); G. Webber, The Negotiable Constitution. On The Limitation of Rights (2009).

26 Even more cosmopolitan constitutional theories persist in imagining that the prototype of a legitimate constitution is the national constitution, constructed around the simple active engagement of sovereign citizens. See Habermas, J., ‘Zur Prinzipienkonkurrenz von Bürgergleichheit und Staatengleichheit im supranationalen Gemeinwesen. Eine Notiz aus Anlass der Frage nach der Legitimität der ungleichen Repräsentation der Bürger im Europäischen Parlament’, 53(2) Der Staat 53(2) (2014); H. Brunkhorst, Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions – Evolutionary Perspectives (2014).

27 See as basis Germani's account of the nation as a society defined by (1) growing integration of marginal groups; (2) incorporation of marginal geographical areas; (3) acquisition of national loyalties and identifications by inhabitants; (4) high cultural and economic homogeneity; (5) effective full citizenship, with adult political participation: Germani, supra note 10, at 101.

28 See supra note 24.

29 Generally, we can see that populism has experienced an upsurge in the last decade because certain factors appearing in the global domain – financial crises, erosion of national welfare regimes, unregulated investment policies, perhaps mass immigration – are deployed as pretexts for an assault on norms of international provenance in national societies.

30 See p. 27 below.

31 In feudal systems, lords held personal rights over subjects or vassals because they held rights over the land on which these subjects lived. See Brunner, O., Land und Herrschaft. Grundfragen der territorialen Verfassungsgeschichte Südostdeutschlands im Mittelalter, (2nd ed., 1942), at 368; T. N. Bisson, The Crisis of the Twelfth Century. Power, Lordship, and the Origins of European Government (2009) at 14.

32 R. Koselleck, Kritik und Krise. Eine Studie zur Pathogenese der bürgerlichen Welt (1973[1959]).

33 In much of Europe, the later 18th century witnessed large-scale processes of codification and concerted attempts to reduce the judicial autonomy of estates and guilds.

34 This was usually reflected in the importance of natural law as a basis for law codes. See S. Breuer, Sozialgeschichte des Naturrechts (1983), at 199.

35 D. Gosewinkel, Schutz und Freiheit? Staatsbürgerschaft in Europa im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert (2016), at 37.

36 See D. Bradburn, The Citizenship Revolution. Politics and the Creation of the American Union 1774–1804 (2009).

37 In pre-revolutionary France, a doctrine of ‘fundamental laws’ was already accepted. See R. Bickart, Les Parlements et la notion de la souverainété nationale au XVIIIe siècle (1932), at 43, 73. In pre-revolutionary America, the law courts were already viewed as custodians of higher laws. See Williams, N. B., ‘Independent Judiciary Born in Colonial Virginia’, 24 Journal of the American Judicature Society (1940).

38 See for paradigmatic expression of this Sieyès, supra note 24. See also J. Madison, A. Hamilton and J. Jay (1987) The Federalist Papers (1987 [1787–88]), at 327.

39 Grimm, supra note 24.

40 M. P. Fitzsimmons, From Artisan to Worker. Guilds, the French State, and the Organization of Labor, 1776–1821 (2010), at 11, 118.

41 See Sieyès, supra note 24.

42 On the early growth of administrative law after 1789 see R. Burdeau, Histoire du droit administratif (1995), at 65–66.

43 See M. Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundriß der verstehenden Soziologie (1921/22), at 427.

44 Early democratic revolutions had the result that the authority of public agencies increased rapidly and their regulatory, military and fiscal capacities were extended. See for example P. Cancik, Verwaltung und Öffentlichkeit in Preußen (2007); C. Church, Revolution and Red Tape. The French Ministerial Bureaucracy 1770–1850 (1981). The deepening of enfranchisement in the 19th century led to the concomitant expansion of administrative organs. See Weber, supra note 43, at 571. The process of state expansion became especially palpable, in different countries, in the years after 1910. In many countries, for example France, the USA and Russia, this period saw the introduction of permanent income tax, so that public institutions were placed in immediate relation to particular subjects in society, and private variations in status were greatly weakened. See Kotsonis, Y., ‘“Face-to-Face”: The State, the Individual, and the Citizen in Russian Taxation, 1863–1917’, 63(2) Slavic Review (2004) 225. The great leap forward in democratic enfranchisement then occurred in Europe at the end of World War I, which led to a profound extension of public institutions and their extractive and mobilizational functions.

45 See classical analysis in K. W. Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication. An Inquiry into the Foundations of Nationality (2nd ed., 1962).

46 By 1848, most European states possessed rudimentary electoral franchises and representative assemblies.

47 By circa 1800, loosely identifiable political parties existed or had existed in Britain, Sweden, France and the USA. By 1900, political parties were instruments of political interest representation in most states.

48 D. Caramani, The Nationalization of Politics. The Formation of National Electorates (2004).

49 See Germani, supra note 10.

50 P. Rosanvallon, Le Sacre du citoyen (1992).

51 In most societies, the advent of mass-democracy in 1918 saw the growth, more tentatively, of welfare democracy, and most democratic polities that emerged in 1918 contained complex mechanisms for the integration of organized labour.

52 Classical examples are fascist states in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and Latin American states after 1945.

53 For examples of the privatization of public resources in authoritarian states, see P. Ranis, Argentine Workers. Peronism and Contemporary Class Consciousness (1992); Makler, H. M., ‘The Portuguese Industrial Elite and its Corporative Relations: A Study of Compartmentalization in an Authoritarian Regime’, 24(3) Economic Development and Cultural Change (1976); F. Bonini, Storia della pubblica amministrazione in Italia (2004), at 98; J. Willerton, Patronage and Politics in the USSR (1992).

54 In Britain, this was expressed in the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. See W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, vol. I. (1979 [1765–1769]). In the French Revolution, Saint-Just stated that the ‘legislative body is … the essence of liberty’: L. A. L. de Saint-Just, Esprit de la Révolution et de la Constitution de France (1791), at 102.

55 See as examples of these processes Geyer, M., ‘Ein Vorbote des Wohlfahrtsstaates. Die Kriegsopferversorgung in Frankreich, Deutschland und Großbritannien nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg’, 9(2) Geschichte und Gesellschaft (1983); N. Roussellier, La force de gouverner. Le pouvoir exécutif en France. XIX-XXI siècles (2015), at 544; C. Böhret, Aktionen gegen die kalte Sozialisierung 1926–1930. Ein Beitrag zum Wirken ökonomischer Einflußverbände in der Weimarer Republik (1966); M. Grübler, Die Spitzenverbände der Wirtschaft und das erste Kabinett Brüning: Vom Ende der Großen Koalition 1929/30 bis zum Vorabend der Bankenkrise 1931 (1982).

56 Fascist intellectuals commonly reflected on the illusion of legislative authority, and the vulnerability of legislatures to sabotage. See C. Schmitt, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus (1923).

57 Speaking of Germany and the USA in the 19th century, one observer remarks that ‘it was in the practice of war … that both nations forged the key elements of their status in the world’: Geyer, M. and Bright, C., ‘Global Violence and Nationalizing Wars in Eurasia and America: The Geopolitics of War in the Mid-Nineteenth Century’, 38(4) Comparative Studies in Society and History (1996) 648.

58 See for example A. Fletcher, Life, Death and Growing Up on the Western Front (2013), at 20; Modell, J. J., Goulden, M. and Magnusson, S., ‘World War II in the Lives of Black Americans: Some Findings and an Interpretation’, 76(3) Journal of American History (1989) 838.

59 Classically, of course, most national societies experienced formative periods in which warfare led to the abolition of serfdom or slavery, as persons traditionally excluded from the exercise of citizenship rights were needed for conduct of military conflict, and citizenship rights were extended to such persons as part of a military bargain. More recently, a variant on this bargain observable in the USA. Of the USA, Slotkin argues that the attainment of full citizenship rights by African Americans in 1964/65 marked the fulfilment of the ‘social bargain’ first established through black military participation in World War I. See R. Slotkin, Lost Batallions. The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality (2005), at 559. See also C. S. Parker, Fighting for Democracy. Black Veterans and the Struggle against White Supremacy in the Post-War South (2009), at 12.

60 See J. W. Chambers II, To Raise an Army. The Draft Comes to Modern America (1987). But it has also been widely argued that working-class enfranchisement in the UK after 1914 was connected to manpower requirements. See R. Roberts, The Classic Slum. Salford Life in the First Quarter of the Century (1971).

61 M. Pugh, Electoral Reform in War and Peace 1906–18 (1978), at 51.

62 See M. A. Centeno, Blood and Debt. War and the Nation-State in Latin America (2002), at 170.

63 One historian describes military conscription in France as ‘apprentisage de la citoyenneté’: A. Crépin, La conscription en débat ou le triple apprentissage de la nation, de la citoyenneté, de la république (1798–1889) (1999), at 13.

64 J.-P. Bertaud, La revolution armée. Les soldats-citoyens et la Révolution en France (1979); L. D. Cress, Citizens in Arms. The Army and the Militia in American Society to the War of 1812 (1982); W. Gembruch, Staat und Heer. Ausgewählte historische Studien zum ancien régime, zur Französischen Revolution und zu den Befreiungskriegen, J. Kunisch (ed.), (1990); T. Hippler, Soldats et citoyens. Naissance du service militaire en France et en Prusse (2006).

65 See Crépin, supra note 63, at 92, 125; S. Tarrow, War, States, and Contention. A Comparative Historical Study (2015), at 241.

66 J. Leonhard, Bellizismus und Nation. Kriegsdeutung und Nationsbestimmung in Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten 1750–1914 (2014).

67 In many European countries, mass enfranchisement after 1918 was accompanied by the formation of paramilitary attachments, linked to different political parties. See R. Gewarth, The Vanquished. Why The First World War Failed to End, 1917–1923 (2016). Even in the UK, the creation of the (nearly) full and equal male franchise in 1918 created a climate in which politicians conducted political activities in subdued fashion, to avoid intensified volatility. See Lawrence, J., ‘The Transformation of British Politics after the First World War’, 190 Past & Present (2006) 213.

68 Key examples are many German states after 1849 and post-1921 Russia.

69 Examples are persistent inter-ethnic conflicts in the USA after 1865 and persistent class conflicts in Germany after 1918.

70 In France, parties began to develop in 1789, and party government was stabilized in 1870–75, after the mass murder of the political left. The legal standing and legitimacy of political parties in France were finally formalized in 1901. But political parties assumed organizational structure well before this point. See for analysis R. Huard, La naissance du parti politique en France (1996), at 21, 145; R. Hudemann, Fraktionsbildung im französischen Parlament. Zur Entwicklung des Parteiensystems in der frühen Dritten Republik (1871-1875) (1979), at 142. In Germany, political parties appeared in 1848, and dominant Conservative parties were closely linked to the army. See E. Trox, Militärischer Konservatismus. Kriegervereine und ‘Militärpartei’ in Preußen zwischen 1815 und 1848/49 (1990). In the USA, the Republican Party was in effect the government of the Union, which defeated the Confederacy in the 1860s. See R. F. Bensel, Yankee Leviathan. The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859–1877 (1990), at 3–4.

71 See Gewarth, supra note 67.

72 Horowitz, I. L. and Trimberger, E. K., ‘State Power and Military Nationalism in Latin America’, 8(2) Comparative Politics (1976) 233; F. D. McCann, Soldiers of the Pátria. A History of the Brazilian Army, 1889–1937 (2004), at 437; V. P. Borges, Tenentismo e revolução brasileira (1992), at 158.

73 On loss of institutional integrity under military-led regimes, see C. Bersani, ‘Gli enti pubblici tra stato e società 1926–1943’, in A. Mazzacone (ed.), Diritto, economia e istituzioni nell'Italia fascista (2002); D. Rebentisch, Führerstaat und Verwaltung im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Verfassungsentwicklung und Verwaltungspolitik 1939–1945 (1989), at 2; Borner, S. and Kobler, M., ‘Strength and Commitment of the State: It Takes Two to Tango: A Case Study of Economic Reforms of Argentina in the 1990s’, 110(3/4) Public Choice (2002) 340.

74 This category includes European states between 1918 and 1940, most of which momentarily became (partial) democracies and then became authoritarian. It also includes many post-colonial states in Africa. Most Latin American states fit this model until the 1980/90s.

75 This includes most states at some point in their trajectory, as generalized political inclusion only became widespread after 1945. As recent paradigms, it includes South Africa until 1991–96 (ethnic exclusion); the USA until 1964/65 (ethnic exclusion); the UK until 1950 (class-determined over-inclusion). Elements of this model are found in Bolivia until 2009 (ethnic exclusion); Colombia until 1991 (ethnic exclusion); Switzerland until the 1970s (gender exclusion).

76 See for a summary of research on this G. O'Donnell, ‘Y a mí qué me importa? Notas sobre sociabilidad y política en Argentina y Brasil’, Kellogg Institute, Working Paper # 9 (1984), at 21.

77 Many African societies are marked by a multi-centric or even multi-sovereign legal-political landscape. See Howard, R. E., ‘Legitimacy and Class Rule in Commonwealth Africa: Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law’, 7(2) Third World Quarterly (1985) 331.

78 See B. Simmons, Mobilizing for Human Rights. International Law in Domestic Politics (2009).

79 See discussion supra notes 76–77.

80 B. Pirker, Grundrechtsschutz im Unionsrecht zwischen Subsidiarität und Integration (2018) at 95. The USA is a case in point, as the federal imposition of civil rights law across all parts of the country in the 1960s was strongly backed by international presumptions. See J. D. Skrentny, The Minority Rights Revolution (2002); A. S. Layton, International Politics and Civil Rights Policies in the United States, 1941–1960 (2000).

81 See Eisenhower's use of military power to impose national citizenship laws at Little Rock in 1957, insisting that ‘the force we send there is strong enough that it will not be challenged’: see M. Sherry, In the Shadow of War. The United States since the 1930s (1995), at 25. The US army was of course the vanguard institution in the consolidation of civil rights.

82 R. P. Dore, Land Reform in Japan (1959), at 25.

83 Beer, L.W., ‘Group Rights and Individual Rights in Japan’, 21(4) Asian Survey (1981) 442, 453.

84 The Japanese language did not have words for ‘rights’ until the 1860s. See C. Tsuzuki, The Pursuit of Power in Modern Japan (2000), at 77. Constitutional reform in Japan was flanked by extensive land reform (1947–49), implemented by the American occupying government, which abolished sharecropping and was designed to eradicate feudal traces from society.

85 See strident declarations to this effect in J. A. Rabkin, Law without Nations? Why Constitutional Government requires Sovereign States (2007).

86 See R. Mickey, Paths out of Dixie. The Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America's Deep South, 1944–1972 (2015).

87 See Skrentny, supra note 80.

88 See Cleveland, S. H., ‘Our International Constitution’, 31 Yale Journal of International Law (2006); J. T. Elliff, The United States Department of Justice and Individual Rights 1937–1962 (1987), at 254.

89 See the declaration of the commitment of the American Supreme Court to the ‘achievement of fair and effective representation for all citizens’ in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964). This case was not centrally concerned with anti-minority politics. However, it made clear the Court's insistence on its political role in promoting equal access to the electoral franchise, and it strongly attached domestic constitutional law to norms set out in the global arena in the mid-1960s, especially to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was first presented in draft form as early as 1954.

90 M. Aguilera Peña, Contrapoder y justicia guerrillera, fragmentación política y orden insurgente en Colombia (1952–2003) (2004); A. Arjona, Rebelocracy. Social Order in the Colombian Civil War (2016), at 81.

91 See historical reconstruction in J. Grajales, Gobernar en medio de la violencia. Estado y paramilitarismo en Colombia (2017), at 59–61; Jorge González Jácome, Estados de Excepción y democracia liberal en América del Sur: Argentina, Chile y Colombia (1930–1990) (2015), at 231–2.

92 See C. Thornhill, The Sociology of Law and the Global Transformation of Democracy (2018), at 350–374.

93 The development of human rights law in post-fascist states was closely linked to processes of economic decartelization. See chapters in B. Diestelkamp, Z. Kitagawa, J. Kreiner, J. Murakami, K. W. Nörr and N. Toshitani (eds), Zwischen Kontinuität und Fremdbestimmung. Zum Einfluß der Besatzungsmächte auf die deutsche und japanische Rechtsordnung 1945 bis 1950 (1996).

94 See supra note 55. On the Cold-War background to human rights law in Europe see M. R. Madsen, La genèse de l'Europe des droits de l'homme. Enjeux juridiques et strategies d’état (France, Grande-Bretagne et pays scandinaves) (2010).

95 For example, the catalogue of rights in the West German Grundgesetz, which later became a model for constitutions in Eastern Europe, was based on drafts for the UN Universal Declaration. The Bills of Rights in Anglophone Africa were largely based on the ECHR. On international influences in civil-rights law in the USA, see Skrenty, supra note 80.

96 Examples are Argentina under Peron, Bolivia in 1952, and Venezuela in 1958. For comment, see R. B. Collier and D. Collier, Shaping the Political Arena. Critical Junctures, The Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America (1991), at 342; Burke, M. and Molloy, J. M., ‘From National Populism to National Corporatism: The Case of Bolivia (1952–1970)’, 9 Comparative International Development (1974).

97 See for example Ebbinghaus, B., ‘The Siamese Twins: Citizenship Rights, Cleavage Formation, and Party-Union Relations in Western Europe’, 40(3) International Review of Social History (1995); H. Volkmann, ‘Modernisiering des Arbeitskampfes? Zum Formwandel von Streik und Aussperrung in Deutschland 1864–1975’ in H. Kaelble (ed.), Probleme der Modernisierung in Deutschland. Sozialhistorische Studien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (1978), at 168; W. Korpi, The Democratic Class Struggle (1983), at 21; G. Ross, Workers and Communists in France. From Popular Front to Eurocommunism (1982), at 314; H. G. Hockerts, ‘Integration der Gesellschaft – Gründungskrise und Sozialpolitik in der frühen Bundesrepublik’, in M. Funke (ed.), Entscheidung für den Westen. Vom Besatzungsstatut zur Souveränität der Bundesrepublik 1949–1955 (1988), at 55.

98 In different waves of democratic transition – after 1945, in the mid-1970s, after 1983 – constitutions limited the role of the army in government. Such constitutions also restricted the extent to which trade unions and large businesses could assume dominant positions in government.

99 In some cases, notably Argentina after 1983, rights-based constitutionalism was strategically designed to separate the core state structure from powerful societal organizations. See G. L. Munck, Authoritarianism and Democratization. Soldiers and Workers in Argentina, 1976–1983 (1988), at 155.

100 One account argues that widespread enfranchisement of women after 1945 was due to the socializing power of international norms: Ramirez, F. O., Soysal, Y. and Shanahan, S., ‘The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women's Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990’, 62(5) American Sociological Review (1997). On my view, this can be extended to wider processes. Before 1945, few societies had equal enfranchisement of men.

101 Most cases in which unjustly favoured sectors have lost group privileges have been shaped by domestic reception of international law. Obvious examples are the USA around 1964 and South Africa in the early 1990s.

102 On the USA, see Sherry, supra note 81, at 259; R. U. Thorpe, The American Warfare State. The Domestic Politics of Military Spending (2014), at 15. On the UK, see D. Edgerton, Warfare State: Britain 1920–1970 (2005).

103 See A. Brogi, Confronting America. The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy (2011), at 365.

104 See Jensen, N. and Wantchekon, L., ‘Resource Wealth and Political Regimes in Africa’, 37(7) Comparative Political Studies (2004) 817; Franke, A., Gawrich, A. and Alakbarov, G., ‘Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan as Post-Soviet Rentier States: Resource Incomes and Autocracy as a Double ‘Curse’ in Post-Soviet Regimes’, 61(1) Europe-Asia Studies (2009) 114.

105 Margulis, M. E., McKeon, N. and Borras, S. M. Jr, ‘Land Grabbing and Global Governance: Critical Perspectives’, 10(1) Globalizations (2013) 13.

106 An example is the use of international human rights law in Russia, where rights-based litigation is incentivized as a practice that enables state agencies to consolidate their monopoly of legal authority. See C. Thornhill and M. Smirnova, ‘Litigation and Political Transformation: The Case of Russia’, 47(5) Theory and Society (2018).

107 An important example is the conflict over the exporting of national resources in Bolivia in the early 2000s (the guerra del gas), which led to the drafting of the new constitution under Morales, resulting in a classic case of left-populist government. This was both a conflict over resource sovereignty and between national elites with a global-economic orientation and marginalized claimants to constituent power.

108 See the following case in the IACtHR: Saramaka People v. Suriname, Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, Judgment (28 November 2007).There are numerous cases in which international principles that curb formal investment law have been reproduced in domestic courts, so that the filtration of international norms forms a core part of national sovereignty.

109 See discussion of Russia in Thornhill and Smirnova, supra note 105. See also K. Sikkink, The Justice Cascade. How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (2011).

110 See supra note 4.

111 Trump's reliance on executive orders is well documented.

113 Garcia-Serra, M. J., ‘The “Enabling Law”: The Demise of the Separation of Powers in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela’, 32(2) University of Miami Inter-American Law Review (2001).

114 For analysis of the use of executive legislation to implement Brexit, see

115 See R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland [2019] UKSC 41.

116 See supra notes 4–5.

117 Since 2017, anti-minority policies have been commonly reported by indigenous groups in Brazil. See details at See F. F. Bragato, ‘Os caminhos do genocído indígena na atual política brasileira’, at (2019).

118 See supra note 112.

119 This is a classical feature of societies with low rights protection. See Oszlak, O., ‘The Historical Formation of the State in Latin America: Some Theoretical and Methodological Guidelines for its Study’, 16(2) Latin American Research Review (1981) 17.

120 In Colombia, for example, citizenship was historically linked to local attachments and mediated through local elites, and there is an acute danger that it will return to this form. See Márquez Estrada, J. W., ‘De vecinos a ciudadanos. Las estrategias políticas y culturales en el proceso de formación de la ciudadanía en Colombia’, 16 Anuario de Historia Regional y de las Fronteras (2012).

121 The military has recently acquired renewed prominence in Venezuela and Brazil. One commentator sees Brazil now as a military state, in which the army is the ‘main center of political power’: Goldstein, A. A., ‘The New Far-Right in Brazil and the Construction of a Right-Wing Order’, 46(4) Latin American Perspectives (2019) 251.

122 Maya, M. López, ‘Venezuela: The Political Crisis of Post-Chavismo’, 40(4) Social Justice (2014) 73.

123 See Albertus, M., ‘The Role of Subnational Politicians in Distributive Politics: Political Bias in Venezuela's Land Reform under Chávez’, 48(13) Comparative Political Studies (2015) 1705. Recent months in Brazil have seen an increasingly uneven distribution of resources from the national government to the states, in which states that supported Bolsonaro, and elite leaders in these states, have received reward for political loyalty. See


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