The Case for Tolerant Constitutional Patriotism: The Right to Privacy Before the European Courts
40 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2008
Date Written: Summer 2008
The theory of constitutional patriotism has been advanced as a solution to the European Union's legitimacy woes. Europeans, according to this theory, should recognize themselves as members of a single human community and thus acknowledge the legitimacy of Europe-wide governance based on their shared belief in a common set of liberal democratic values. Yet in its search for unity, constitutional patriotism, like nationalism and other founding myths, carries the potential for the exclusion of others. This article explores the illiberal tendencies of one element of the liberal canon - the right to privacy - in the case law of Europe's constitutional courts. It argues that, in confronting the tension between privacy and freedom of expression, the European Court of Justice has been more successful than the European Court of Human Rights at accommodating diverse national orderings and thus resisting the illiberal dangers of constitutional patriotism.
Keywords: EU law, comparative law, privacy
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