Public Law and the New Populism

The International Journal of Constitutional Law (I-CON) and the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice at NYU School of Law is pleased to announce a workshop on “Public Law and the New Populism,” to be held in the Lester Pollack Colloquium Room, Furman Hall (245 Sullivan Street) at NYU School of Law on September 15 & 16, 2017.

The workshop will focus on the relationship between the current populist turn in national and international politics, on the one hand, and norms and institutions  of public law on the other. The workshop brings together over 40 scholars of constitutional, international, and public law to investigate some of the distinctively legal dimensions of the populist wave sweeping the world’s democracies. The workshop, comprised of 8 sessions, is organized around several broad themes including populism and constitutionalism; varieties of populism in Europe and North America; populism and the judiciary; and responses to populism.

Attendance at the workshop is limited for reasons of space.  If anyone other than a participant would like to attend the workshop, please email

The running order of the workshop will be as follows:

Friday September 15

8.30-10.30am              Session 1: Populism and Constitutionalism

Chair: Gráinne de Búrca (NYU School of Law)

  1. Neil Walker (Edinburgh Law School), Populism and Constitutional Tension
  2. Paul Blokker (Charles University), Populism as a Constitutional Project
  3. Rob Howse (NYU School of Law), Populism-a Defense: Reflections on the History of Democratic Thought and Practice

Discussant:  Aziz Huq (University of Chicago)

10.30-11.00am            Coffee 

11.00-12.30pm            Session 2: Populism in CEEC

Chair:  Daniel Francis (Harvard Law School)

  1. Bojan Bugarič (University of Ljubljana), The Populists at the Gate: Constitutional Democracy under Siege?
  2. András László Pap (Central European University), The Rise of Illiberal Democracy and the Remedies of Multi-Level Constitutionalism (co-authored with Anna Sledzinska-Simon)
  3. Silvia Suteu, The Populist Turn in Central and Eastern Europe: Is Deliberative Democracy the Solution?

Discussant:  Vlad Perju (Boston College)

12.30-1.30pm              Lunch (Furman, 9th Floor)

1.30-3.30pm                Session 3:   Courts Influenced by Populism

Chair: Peter Lindseth (University of Connecticut)

  • Odile Ammann (University of Fribourg), When Are Judges Influenced by Public Opinion?
  • Or Bassok (Nottingham University), The Schmitesen Court
  • Tamar Hostovsky Brandes (Ono Academic College), How Courts respond to populism: the declining status of international law in the decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court concerning the occupied territories

Discussant: Sam Issacharoff (NYU School of Law)

3.30-4.00pm                Coffee

4.00-6.00pm                Session 4: Populist Courts and Populist Law

Chair: Christine Landfried (Hamburg University)

  • Mariana Diaz Chalela (Universidad de los Andes), Religious Symbols and New Populist Movements in the Columbian Constitutional Court
  • Vladislava Stoyanova (Lund University), Populism, Exceptionality and the Rights of Migrants to Family Life under the European Convention
  • Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL), The Legal Face of Populism: From the Classroom to the Courtroom

Discussant:  Stephen Gardbaum (UCLA School of Law)

7.00pm                        Dinner (Gradisca Ristorante, 126 W. 13th street, between 6th and 7th Ave (participants only)

Saturday September 16

8.15am-10.00am         Session 5: Populism in North America

Chair:  Sergio Verdugo (NYU School of Law)

  • Benjamin Perryman (Yale Law School), Populism, (Dis)trust & Rights as Externalities: The ongoing Reform of Sexual Assault Law in Canada
  • Kirsten Nussbaumer (Rutgers University), Populism and Election Law in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
  • Stephen Gardbaum and Richard Pildes (NYU School of Law), Peer Review Versus Populism: How Democracies Select Candidates to Run their Countries

Discussant: Mary Anne Case (University of Chicago)

10.00-10.30am            Coffee

10.30-12.30pm            Session 6: Populism in Europe

Chair: Joana Mendes (University of Luxembourg)

  • John Morijn (University of Groningen), Responding to Populist Politics in the EU
  • Marco Bassini (Bocconi University), The Rise of Populism and the Five Star Movement Model: the Italian Case Study
  • David Kenny (Trinity College Dublin), Austerity, Populism, and Water – Ireland’s Strange Populism and the Inevitability of the Local

Discussant:  Piet Eeckhout (UCL)

12.30-1.30pm              Lunch (Furman 9th Floor)

1.30-3.30pm                Session 7: Responding to Populism I

Chair: Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz (University of Gdansk, Princeton University)

  • Ming Sung Kuo (University of Warwick), Against Instantaneous Democracy
  • Jerfi Uzman (University of Leiden), Enemies of the People: Populism, Direct Democracy and the Courts
  • Maria Varaki (University of Helsinki), “The End of History” or the Beginning of Self Re-evaluation?

Discussant: Oliver Gerstenberg (UCL)

3.30-4.00pm                Coffee

4.00-6.00pm                Session 8: Responding to Populism II

Chair:  Marcelo Alegre (NYU School of Law /Universidad de Buenos Aires)

  • David Landau (Florida State University) & Ros Dixon (University of New South Wales), Tiered Constitutional Design and Referenda
  • Ana Micaela Alterio (ITAM), Reactive vs. Structural Approach: A Public Law Response to Populism
  • Domingo Lovera-Parmo (Universidad Diego Portales), Social Protests, Institutions and Constitutions: The Democratic Duty to Engage

Discussant:  Dan Kelemen (Rutgers University)

Participants, please login to the portal here to retrieve the conference papers which will be discussed over the course of the workshop. If you experience any trouble logging in, please contact Hetty Dekker at