Participant, ‘The Quest for Legitimacy: Actors, Audiences and Aspirations’, 2017 APSA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 31-September 3 (II)

Three personal highlights of this year’s meeting of the American Political Science Association were:


David Azerrad (The Heritage Foundation), Carson L. Holloway (University of Nebraska, Omaha), Michael M. Uhlmann (Claremont Graduate University), and Christopher Wolfe (University of Dallas), discussing: ‘American Public Philosophy in the Age of Trump’.


Peter R.W. Cross (Hillsdale College), Justin B. Dyer (University of Missouri, Columbia), Douglas Kries (Gonzaga University), Adam Seagrave (University of Missouri, Columbia), and Lee Ward (Baylor University) (picture), panel: ‘On the Compatibility of Natural Law and Natural Rights’.


Darren Patrick Guerra (Biola University), Amy E. Black (Wheaton College), Kevin R. Den Dulk (Calvin College) (picture), and J. Christopher Soper (Pepperdine University), panel: ‘Honoring Stephen Monsma: His Life and Work’.

Top picture: booth reception Routledge, publisher of Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (2017).

See also:

Participant, ‘The Quest for Legitimacy: Actors, Audiences and Aspirations’, 2017 APSA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 31-September 3 (I).



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Participant, ‘The Quest for Legitimacy: Actors, Audiences and Aspirations’, 2017 APSA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 31-September 3 (I)

Topics include:

  • New Perspectives on Montesquieu
  • The Crisis of Constitutional Democracy
  • American Public Philosophy in the Age of Trump
  • On the Compatibility of Natural Law and Natural Rights
  • Author Meets Critics: Alexander Tsesis’s “Constitutional Ethos”
  • Liberalism in Crisis
  • Challenges to the Rule of Law
  • The Future of Conservatism
  • Constitution Making in Religiously Divided Societies

See for more information about the program:

See also:

Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

Participant, ‘Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of Our Time’, 2016 APSA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, September 1-4

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Book review: ‘The Political Theology of European Integration,’ by Mark R. Royce

‘The central question political scientist Mark R. Royce addresses in his book, The Political Theology of European Integration: Comparing the Influence of Religious Histories on European Policies, is whether the process of European integration as it has developed since the Second World War, and continues to develop as a result of issues such as Brexit, is also influenced by political theological considerations. He defines “political theology” as “the authoritative application of sacred ideas to public policies and discourses” (p. 1). In the context of Royce’s study, which focuses on 17 Western European countries, in particular Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican forms of Protestantism are relevant.’

Read the whole book review, published on the Religion & Liberty Transatlantic Blog, here:

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Presenter and Discussant, ICON-S Conference ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’, University of Copenhagen, 5-7 July 2017 (II)

Just two out of many panels, which made this yet another great conference. Proud to have been part of it for the fourth year in a row, after Florence, New York City and Berlin.

Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde’s Constitutional Thought in Comparative Perspective

Participants: Tine Stein, Mirjam Künkler Sabino Cassese, Kai Möller, Michaela Hailbronner, Alexander Somek

‘Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde (born 1930) is one of Germany’s foremost legal scholars and political thinkers. As a scholar of constitutional law, Böckenförde has been a major contributor to the conceptual framework of the modern state, and to political and ethical controversies from vexed questions about potential states of emergency to the ethics of genetic engineering. As a judge on Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (1983 – 1996) and the author of the highest number of dissenting opinions in the court’s history, Böckenförde has significantly influenced the way law and politics are conceived of in Germany. This panel revisits Böckenförde’s work as a late beacon of the German statist tradition and probes its relevance amid contemporary debates about the constitutional implications of a globalized world order, where notions of a post-state, post-sovereign, and multi-level ordering, have taken center stage. Böckenförde is unique in that he confronts the basic concepts and conceptual presuppositions of the old Staatslehre with the challenges of an interdependent world. Focusing on his notions of the state and of the constitution, participants explore the timeliness of Böckenförde’s work and ask whether and to what extent it can serve as a basis for a European public law.’

Searching for the Constitutional Identity within EU: Beyond Courts’ Interpretation

Participants: Tímea Drinóczi, Giacomo Delledonne, Pietro Faraguna, Marco Bassini, Neliana Rodean

‘In the recent time identity of the constitutional order has become a challenged topic within the European space both in respect of its subjective sense of selfness of a member state vis-á-vis others and regarding the construction of a European Constitutional identity. The panel invites scholars to discuss the ambivalent meaning of constitutional identity focusing, firstly, on how European constitutional identity relates to the specific constitutional identities of European nation-states and the implications for the division of authority between the European and national levels within the EU. Secondly, the panel offers the opportunity to discover to what extend the constitutional identity became the explicit arena of disputes between Courts, and how its definition goes beyond their interpretation.’

See also:

Presenter and Discussant, ICON-S Conference ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’, University of Copenhagen, 5-7 July 2017

Participant, 2016 ICON∙S Conference on ‘Borders, Otherness and Public Law’

Paper presentation on ‘The Modern Challenges of Democracy’, New York University School of Law

Paper-presentation ‘Imaginations From the Other Side. Assessing the Juncture between Law, History and Sociology in the Study of State-Religion Interlocutions’

Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

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Presenter and Discussant, ICON-S Conference ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’, University of Copenhagen, 5-7 July 2017

Looking forward to presenting next week on ‘The European Court of Human Rights’ “constitutional morality” in the religious domain’. The paper forms part of a panel on ‘Judicialisation of Human Rights Law and Policy: A Vehicle for Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights?’

The description of this panel reads as follows:

‘The panel introduces the Leiden Research Group ‘Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights in a Pluralist World’. Though judicialisation is in itself not a new phenomenon, in the context of today’s globalizing world and the increasing interaction between legal systems, judicialisation is taking on entirely new dimensions and is giving rise to new and complex issues. This is especially true in the field of fundamental rights. At first sight, this judicialisation in the area of human rights seems to be a positive development that furthers the effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the international regional and domestic level. However, judicialisation also raises a number of issues that need to be addressed, such as the democratic basis of law-making and separation of powers. Against this background, judicialisation as a means to further fundamental rights protection is very much in need of new and innovative research concerning its meaning workings and impact. Three elements merit particular attention during the panel: a.Conceptualization of judicialisation in the area of human rights; b.Judicialisation in relation to substantive areas of human rights; c.Potential and limitations of judicialisation for the effective protection of fundamental rights.’

My second paper presentation in Copenhagen is titled ‘In Defense of the Classical Liberal Conception Regarding Religious Freedom’, and will take place during a panel on ‘The Separation of Civil and Religious Powers’.

You can read the abstract of the paper here:

‘Leading U.S. scholar of constitutional interpretation Michael Paulsen has developed an interesting theory of religious freedom called ‘The Priority of God’. Paulsen distinguishes, first of all, a liberal conception of religious freedom, according to which it is widely assumed that religious truth exists in a society and the state is tolerant towards the various faith and other traditions. The U.S. however, has developed in the direction of a modern conception of religious freedom, which no longer recognises religious truth although the state remains tolerant. Moreover, still according to Paulsen, several European countries have adopted a postmodern conception of religious freedom. This conception does not just no longer recognise religious truth, but also implies a considerably less tolerant state as secularism becomes the established ‘religion’. This view paradoxically resembles the preliberal stance of religious intolerance out of the conviction that religious truth exists. In response to such developments and in light of the meeting’s general theme with special attention to the role of courts in achieving this, the proposed paper will make a case for the classical liberal position with respect to religious freedom. In light of the current religious diversity in society, this position still appears to be most conducive to safeguarding the position of religious minorities in public life in the increasingly secular, majoritarian contexts of Western liberal democracies.’

Finally, I will serve as discussant for Mathew John’s paper on ‘Framing Religion in Constitutional Power: A View from Indian Constitutional Law’ during the latter panel. Mathew John received his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012. Since that year he has been working as an Associate Professor at the Jindal Global Law School Sonipat. Since January 2017 Ph.D. Mathew John is Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities ‘Law as Culture’.

For the full program of the ICON-S Conference, see:

See also:

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: 2017 ICON∙S Conference on ‘Courts, Power, and Public Law’, Copenhagen, July 5-7;

Press Release: ‘Hans-Martien ten Napel has book published “Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human”’.


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Participant, Acton University, June 20-23 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan (II)

Just five of the speakers, making this such a very worthwhile event to attend:
– Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
– Daniel Mark, Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
– Carrie Gress, author of the The Marian Option (2017) and Public Intellectual
– Elizabeth Bruenig, Editor at The Washington Post, essayist on religion and politics
– Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America (2017)

See also: Participant, Acton University, June 20-23 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan (I).

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Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

‘Twelve researchers of our Law School have been awarded an ILS seed money grant. This grant enables researchers to create space for preparing a grant proposal for NWO, ERC or otherwise.

Given the impressive quality of the twelve applications received in response to the ILS seed money call, the Research Board advised to find ways to support all the applications. The Faculty Board has invested additional funds to make this possible. Each researcher that has received a grant has committed her- or himself to submitting a grant proposal and to publish at least one article on the research theme.

An overview of the grant writers and their research themes is provided in the table below. (…)

For more information on the research focus area Interaction between Legal Systems visit our website.

Applicant Research theme
Boom, W.H. van Litigation strategy and third party funder involvement
De Brabandere, E. The dynamics of arbitration institutions in investment treaty arbitration
Cuyvers, A. Beyond Brexit: New models of EU membership for a flexible and viable Union of 27
Dam-de Jong D.A. From war to peace: the contribution of international law to enhancing compliance with intra-state peace agreements
Jesse, M. Who ‘we’ really are and who ‘we’ want to be – Europe’s Reaction to the Refugee Crises: the envisioned project will look at legislative changes after the refugee crises to decipher underlying ideals and principles governing our societies
Kunst, M.J.J. Unlocking the international evidence base of “victim-oriented” legislation: A systematic and critical review of the literature
Leijten, I. Social rights cities
Liefaard, T. Access to justice for children: Understanding the concept and its significance for the effective protection of children’s rights in a pluralist world
Napel, H.M.T.D. ten Constitutional identity in a ‘Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order’ Era.
Ouwerkerk, J. What price EU defence rights? Exploring the need for a different division of costs in EU criminal justice cooperation
Rose, C.E. How transnational criminal law treaties influence the behaviour of states, in particular those treaties concerning corruption, organised crime, and terrorist financing
Sentse, M. Sociale netwerken binnen detentie: Correlaties en consequenties van de aard en mate van sociale contacten tussen gedetineerden

Source: Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School

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Participant, Acton University, June 20-23 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan (I)

Source: CC BY-SA 3.0,

This week I will be attending the 2017 Acton University Conference, at DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Acton University ‘is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate philosophy, theology, business, development – with sound, market based, economics.’

It is organized by the Acton Institute, ‘a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles’.

Topics dealt with include:

Thomas Jefferson v. Alexander Hamilton

The Inspiration of the Declaration: What Calvin Coolidge’s Views on Government and Faith Tell Us Today

John Locke’s Philosophy of Liberalism

Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism

Alexis de Tocqueville: Does Liberty Follow from Democracy?

Democracy and Development

Natural Law and Human Flourishing

“Post-Consensus” Culture and Natural Law

Religious Liberty: The Dawn of the First Amendment

The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom

Marriage and Religious Liberty

How to Understand and Critique Secularism

Presenters will be, among others:

Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation

Hunter Baker, J.D., Ph.D., University Fellow and Associate Professor of Political Science, Union University

The Honorable Judge Janice Rogers Brown, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Lenore Ealy, Ph.D., President, The Philanthropic Enterprise, Inc.

Kenneth Grasso, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Political Science, Texas State University

Carrie Gress, Ph.D., Author and Public Intellectual

Robert Joustra, Ph.D., Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship, Redeemer University College

Daniel Mark, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, and Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

Svetlana Papazov, D.Min., Lead Pastor, Real Life Church; CEO & Founder, Real Life Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Excellence

John Pinheiro, Ph.D., Professor of History and Founding Director of Catholic Studies, Aquinas College

Amity Shlaes, Presidential Scholar, The King’s College.

Sources, and more informationActon UniversityActon Institute.

See alsoUpcoming Speaking Engagement: Symposium The Federalist Papers, Brussel, 20 april 2017

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Interview t.b.v. artikel ‘Buma koestert conservatisme’

Bron: European People’s Party – EPP Dublin Congress, 2014, CC BY 2.0,

Het Reformatorisch Dagblad publiceert vandaag (zaterdag 17 juni 2017) op de voorpagina bovengenoemd artikel van Gerard Vroegindeweij, dat als volgt opent:

‘Het CDA positioneert zich rechts van de VVD, stelt CDA-prominent en oud-informateur Herman Wijffels. Wil het CDA inderdaad eenzelfde positie als zusterpartij CDU in Duitsland; dus rechts van de liberalen? Kenners gaan deels mee met deze waarneming van Wijffels.’

Het artikel bevat onder meer de volgende passage, waarin ik zelf aan het woord kom:

‘Gaat het CDA inderdaad richting de Duitse CDU en wil de partij de VVD rechts passeren? Hans Martien ten Napel, universitair hoofddocent staats- en bestuursrecht aan de Universiteit Leiden, denkt van wel. Volgens hem bevindt „zich de natuurlijke positie van het CDA aan de rechterkant van het politieke spectrum. Het sociaal-pluralistische gedachtegoed waarop de christendemocratie is gestoeld, vertoont onmiskenbaar verwantschap met de politieke stroming van het conservatisme. Noch de sociale leer van de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk, noch het antirevolutionair of christelijk-historisch denken kan als vollédig conservatief worden aangemerkt. Maar je merkt wel dat Buma het conservatisme koestert.”

In de beginperiode van het CDA keken christendemocraten met enige minachting naar de oosterburen en de behoudende koers die de CDU voerde. Met rechts en conservatisme wilden de Nederlandse CDA’ers niets te maken hebben. Ten Napel: „Het schrikbeeld dat christendemocraten ten tijde van de totstandkoming van het CDA van de Duitse CDU schetsten, wekt achteraf echter de nodige verwondering.”

In de jaren negentig schreven journalisten en wetenschappers het CDA af. De christendemocratie zou verdwijnen. Waarom hadden zij het mis?

„Het lijkt mij te vroeg om te concluderen dat deze journalisten en wetenschappers het mis hadden. In een postseculiere tijd ontstaat er op zichzelf weer meer ruimte voor de verbinding tussen levensbeschouwing en politiek. Bij de jongste Tweede Kamerverkiezingen boekte het CDA ook daadwerkelijk een bescheiden winst, maar negentien zetels blijft voor de christendemocratie wel het op een na slechtste resultaat uit de parlementaire geschiedenis.”

Is een rechtsere koers dé manier om politiek te overleven en ook niet-kerkelijke kiezers aan de partij te binden?

„Als er meer niet-kerkelijke kiezers komen, is een rechtsere koers niet de enige manier om hen aan de partij te binden. Deze niet-kerkelijke kiezers bevinden zich immers in het gehele politieke spectrum. Een rechtsere koers is wél een manier om ook andere, niet-christelijke, conservatieve kiezers te bereiken. Gelet op het teruglopende aantal christelijke kiezers is het van belang om de brug naar een algemener conservatisme te slaan. Dat moet relatief gemakkelijk kunnen doordat conservatisme in Nederland minder dan voorheen als taboe geldt.”

Waar zag u een omslag?

„Uit een eerder onderzoek dat ik verrichtte naar de programmatische ontwikkeling van het CDA tot 2010 kwam zeker wat betreft het integratiebeleid de eeuwwisseling als omslagpunt naar voren. Maar als ik met een nog ruimer historisch perspectief kijk, dan kun je je afvragen in hoeverre er eigenlijk gesproken kan worden van een omslag.”’

Lees hier het hele artikel, waarin o.a. ook oud-minister Hillen en Pieter Jan Dijkman, de nieuwe directeur van het Wetenschappelijk Instituut voor het CDA, aan het woord komen:

Buma koestert conservatisme.

Zie ook:

Bijdrage over ‘Verrechtsing van het CDA’ t.b.v. De Hofvijver (Montesquieu Instituut).

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Bernie Sanders, Tim Farron, and the regime change which has taken place within liberalism

In my new book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017), I note how partly under the influence of the social and cultural revolution of the 1960s, liberalism has arguably developed from a means of managing diversity in the direction of an ideological agenda of its own. Illustrative of this development is that for some scholars it has now become a question mark if, and to what extent, religion should be tolerated at all within a liberal democracy.

For more information on the book, go here:

Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human.

See also:

Press Release: ‘Hans-Martien ten Napel has book published “Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human”’.



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