Defending Legality in the Age of Empire’s Law

Amy Bartholomew

in Legality and Legitimacy in Global Affairs

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199781577
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932887 | DOI:
Defending Legality in the Age of Empire’s Law

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Amy Bartholomew argues the ‘global war on terror’ has generated rightlessness but not lawlessness. Rule by law threatens to produce a constitutive undoing of the post World War II international legal architecture, or ‘law’s empire’. The current threat to human rights and the future of legality may be understood as ‘empire’s law,’ a development that arms neoliberal globalization with a neoconservative political order of global rule by an American empire. To analyze these developments a critical analysis of international law that can conceptualize the universalist core of legitimate legality which authors like Franz Neumann and, above all, Jürgen Habermas provide is necessary. Both ‘egalitarian universalism’ as key to legality’s internal legitimacy and democratic legitimation as a necessary but still far off condition for external legitimacy are important ideas to further develop in our political theory of legitimate legality and to defend in our struggles to resist empire’s law, a form of rule that threatens humanity’s future.

Keywords: legality; American empire; neoconservative; empire’s law; law’s empire; lawlessness; global war on terror; egalitarian universalism; Jürgen Habermas; Franz Neumann

Chapter.  18423 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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