The Kelsen/Schmitt Controversy and the Evolving Relations between Constitutional and International Law

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Abstract:

Abstract

The article examines Hans Kelsen's and Carl Schmitt's lines of thought concerning the relationship between constitutional and international law, with the aim of ascertaining their respective ability to capture developments affecting that relationship, even those of a contradictory nature. It is significant that, while the rise of wars of humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era has evoked Schmitt's concept of the bellum iustum, the evolution in the direction of the “constitutionalisation of international law” has drawn attention to Kelsen's theoretical approach. However, these assumptions rely heavily on the opposing objectives that the two authors claimed to pursue, such as, respectively, the search for the ultimate seat of political power and a pure theory of law. Things are more complicated, both because these objectives by no means exhaust Kelsen's and Schmitt's lines of thought, and because the conception of sovereignty as omnipotence, at the core of the Weimar controversy, is now behind us.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9337.2010.00467.x

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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