Anna-Bettina Kaiser

Anna-Bettina Kaiser holds a chair in Public Law and General Jurisprudence at the Law Faculty at Humboldt University Berlin. Previously, she was Professor (2014-2021) and Junior Professor (2010-2014) for Public Law at Humboldt University. She received her doctorate in 2007 and her habilitation in 2017, both from the University of Freiburg. Her habilitation thesis, “Ausnahmeverfassungsrecht” (The Emergency Constitution), was on the best non-fiction list of the German Newspaper DIE ZEIT in July/August 2020. She has been awarded several prizes, most recently with the Caroline von Humboldt Professorship by the Humboldt University (November 2022). Anna-Bettina Kaiser has been co-director of the Integrative Research Institute Law & Society since 2019 and co-spokesperson of the project “Laws of Social Cohesion”, funded by the Berlin University Alliance/German Excellence Initiative. Her areas of expertise include constitutional law (constitutions in times of crisis, freedom of speech), comparative constitutional law, constitutional theory, and the rule of law crisis.



Research Project

Exceptional Constitutional Law. The Covid pandemic has again and urgently raised the question of a theoretical engagement with the state of emergency. In the last two decades, the literature on the state of emergency in constitutional theory has been dominated by two broad themes: historically, the war on terror, and theoretically, Carl Schmitt’s model of the state of exception. Due to these influences, the literature tends to be, first, “realist” about the ability of constitutional law to regulate and limit emergency powers and, second, overly focused on their delegation to the executive, while at the same time showing too little attention to constitutional rights as effective limits. My project offers an alternative position to both; in fact, its main impetus is to historically explain, theoretically ground, comparatively illustrate, and doctrinally make workable an alternative “inclusion model.” For this reason, the German Constitution as an instance of this alternative model is of larger significance to the field of comparative constitutional law and theory: It can function as a counter-example to the overly Schmittian mainstream in today’s constitutional theory.