Former U-M Professor to Discuss Crisis of Hungarian Democracy


By Rachel Brichta
Mar 27, 2012

Kim Lane Scheppele, constitutional law expert, will talk about recent changes to Hungary’s constitution

ANN ARBOR, MICH., March 27, 2012–Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University, will give a lecture at U-M’s Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies titled, “Hungary’s Unconstitutional Constitution.” Scheppele’s work concentrates on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress.

In the last year and a half, the newly elected Hungarian government has been dismantling the post-communist system of constitutional checks and balances to create a state that centralizes political control in the hands of one political party. In its place, the governing party has enacted a new constitution and supporting laws that eliminate almost all checks on power. In this lecture, Scheppele will describe the new constitutional system and explain why Hungary’s new legal order is “unconstitutional” when assessed by the standards of formal validity, democratic legitimacy, European constitutionalism, and Hungary’s constitutional traditions

Professor Scheppele’s work after the Iron Curtain fell in 1989 focused on the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia; since 9/11, she has researched the effects of the international “war on terror” on constitutional protections around the world. Her new book, The International State of Emergency: The Rise of Global Security Law (Harvard University Press), will be published in 2013. She taught at the University of Michigan from 1984-96, holding faculty appointments in political science, public policy, and law. She was named an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in 1993.

This program is made possible by a gift to U-M’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) from Nicholas Kabcenell (BA Political Science ’85) in support of Hungarian programming and language training.

DATE: 4:00 PM, Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PLACE: 1636 International Institute, 1080 South University Ave., Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; Center for European Studies; Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

WEB LINK:   www.ii.umich.edu/wced

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) promotes scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Initially focusing on transitions in Europe and Eurasia, it will subsequently expand its scope to other emerging democracies across the globe. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wced.

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wcee.

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