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The unborn child: history, philosophy and religion

Abstract

All throughout history the unborn, and implicitly its protection, have been subject for academics and practitioners of various areas. The problem of the origin of the soul and the exact determination of the moment when it is united with the body was crucial in enabling us to define the exact moment when the human life begins, and, consequently, for providing proper protection for the unborn child. In this context visions of the Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, and of the Latin writer Tertullian, as well as Christian perspectives were analysed in order to identify the starting point of the human being to help determine the level of protection provided for the unborn in history. Finally, considering the fact that not even today has consensus been achieved concerning the beginning of human life, it was and still is difficult to provide proper legal protection for the unborn child, but in our opinion this is by far not impossible.

Open access
Simion Bărnuţiu – Pioneer in the development of the law sciences and of the legal education in Romania

Abstract

The author analyses in this paper S. Bărnuţiu’s contribution to the establishment of the legal education and to the development of the sciences of the Law in the Romanian area during the mid-19th century. Adept of the natural law philosophy, ardent promotor of human and people’s rights, Bărnuţiu remains a personality of reference in the Romanians’ history not only for being the political leader and ideologist of the Transylvanian 1848 Revolution, but also for establishing the legal education at the University of Iasi by inspiring himself from the curriculum of the profile schools of law from the Western Europe. Having a unitary conception on the law and on the history of law, considering the law from a systemic perspective, Bărnuţiu contributed into the edification of a modern, constitutional, and democratic State in the united Romanian Principalities.

Open access
A New Start for Perspectives on Federalism

Abstract

Perspectives on Federalism is closing its seventh year and its issue 2/2015 confirms the interdisciplinary nature of this intellectual enterprise. This issue is a very rich one, as it includes legal, historical and philosophical contributions. In spite of the evident diversities of these articles, we can identify three main connecting themes: latest developments in EU law, history of thought and European integration, and constitutional developments in national and supranational contexts.

Open access
Provincializing Constitutions: History, Narrative, and the Disappearance of Canada’s Provincial Constitutions

Abstract

Constitutional scholarship in Canada since Confederation has been characterized by two primary narratives. The dualist narrative, which characterized constitutional scholarship between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, focussed on the parallel developments of provincial and federal constitutions. The monist narrative, which has become the dominant model of interpretation since the mid-twentieth century, focusses on the federal constitution as a singular foundation of constitutionalism in Canada. As a result of the shift from dualism to monism, provincial constitutions have become largely ignored in Canada and subsumed by the “mega-constitutional” politics of the federal constitution. This paper examines provincial constitutions to highlight the significant reorientation of constitutional scholarship in Canada over the past 150 years, which has become primarily focussed on post-Confederation constitutional history and written constitutionalism.

Open access
Toward Natural Born Derivative Citizenship

Abstract

Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination again raised the question whether persons who receive citizenship at birth to American parents abroad are natural born and eligible to the presidency. This article uses Supreme Court decisions and previously overlooked primary source material from the Founders, the First Congress and English and British law to show that they are not natural born under the doctrinal or historical meaning of the term. The relevant constitutional distinction is between citizenship acquired by birth or by naturalization, not at birth or afterward.

It argues further that a living constitutional theory cannot justifiably interpret the term more broadly because derivative citizenship statutes have long discriminated on grounds including race, gender, sexual orientation, and marital and socioeconomic status. The Supreme Court upholds them even though they would be unacceptable if applied to citizens because they merely discriminate against aliens. Moreover, many who assert presidential eligibility or other constitutional privilege for children born to American parents abroad intend to favor traditionally dominant groups or rely on political theories of bloodline transmission of national character that the Supreme Court used to justify its infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. No justifiable living interpretation can incorporate such discrimination or discredited political theories in qualifications for the highest office in the land.

The article examines the meaning of the term “natural born” in the broader context of similar discrimination in English and British law from which American law developed. It acknowledges the difficulty of reconciling centuries of derivative nationality law and practice with our highest constitutional ideals of equal protection of the law. It concludes by identifying threshold requirements for and a possible approach to developing a justifiable living constitutional interpretation of natural born derivative citizenship.

Open access