A conference on the topic “The return of politics to Constitutional Law” is being held at the Lisbon Law School on the 22 and 23 May 2018.
The conference is a joint organization of the Centre for Research in Public Law of the University of Lisbon and of the Institute for Law and Philosophy of the University of San Diego.
The consolidation of constitutionalism in 20th century Europe meant to a significant extent also the consolidation of constitutional jurisdictions. Several factors contributed to this connection, namely the creation of constitutional courts in the inter-war period and especially after the second world war; the normative force of fundamental rights against the legislator and their direct application; at another level, still questionably “constitutional”, the development of a supranational European legal order in whose affirmation and defense the European Court of Justice played a leading role.
The purpose of this conference is to debate this dominant view and consider the alternatives. A central question is whether one should keep referring today to a political dimension of constitutionalism not to be confused with the aforementioned judicial dimension and impervious to it. A related, perhaps overlapping, question is whether constitutional law is all there is regarding politics – or its regulation – or whether, on the contrary, one should also consider the existence of a constitutional right, developing in the lineage of the modern political right, originating in the thought of such authors as Thomas Hobbes.