The Permanence of the Temporary - Can Emergency Powers Be Normalized?
Posted: 17 Feb 2002
I argue that a liberal democracy which wishes to respond to an emergency must do so by declaring a state of emergency and then dealing with the situation in accordance with the rule of law. Terrorism statutes seek to use the ordinary law to deal with such situations and inevitably both include highly political and vague definitions of their targets and relax the society's commitment to the rule of law. The experience of such statutes is universally dismal and the best hope we have once they are enacted is the judiciary. But then the experience we have of judges when it comes to terrorism statutes is also quite dismal.
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