Publication Date

April 2016


John Finn, Sarah Wiliarty




English (United States)


The threat of transnational terrorism is more salient today that in any time in recent history, and it presents particular challenges for the maintenance of the rule of law and constitutional ways of life in Western democracies. This paper develops a critical lens, which is attuned to the interaction between constitutional texts and principles and the institutions responsible for turning such principles into political action, to examine the responses of three constitutional democracies to major instances of transnational terrorism. Specifically, it looks at the enactment and enforcement of new government surveillance policies in France, the UK, and the US during the post- 9/11 era. We then offer some concluding remarks on what this lens contributes to our understanding of the risks presented when adopting national security related policy changes after periods of national emergency, and how to assess such reforms.



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