Kim Lane Scheppele




Professor Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. From 2005-2015, she was Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton.  Scheppele's work focuses on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress.  After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia, living in both places for extended periods. After 9/11, she researched the effects of the international "war on terror" on constitutional protections around the world.   Since 2010, she has been documenting the rise of autocratic legalism first in Hungary and then in Poland within the European Union, as well as its spread around the world.  Her many publications in law reviews, in social science journals and in many languages cover these topics and others.   She is a commentator in the popular press, discussing comparative constitutional law, the state of Europe, the rule of law and the rise of populism.  


Democracy in Crisis

March 25, 2022 • 6:00pm

Edwards Hall 112


Around the world, democratic citizenries are electing leaders who proceed to dismantle previously existing constitutional constraints on the power of the executive.   From Hungary and Poland, to Venezuela and Ecuador, to Turkey and Russia, and even in the United States, democratically elected leaders are eschewing checks and balances and rejecting independent judiciaries, media and civil society.   These new autocratic leaders appear wildly popular and are often reelected.   Why have democratically elected leaders with autocratic aspirations appeared across such a wide array of democratic governments at once?   How have they undermined constitutional government and yet claimed democratic legitimacy?   And, most crucially, what can be done to restore the promise of constitutionalism? 


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Inventing the Past to Justify the Present:
The Use and Abuse of History in Eastern Europe

FGCU Student Lecture

March 24, 2022 • 1:30 - 3:00pm

Cohen 247


The European Union has long been criticized for having a democratic deficit because its most powerful institutions are not directly elected. The conventional answer was that the democracy deficit was exaggerated because the Member State governments, which sit in the Council and appoint their national Commissioners, are themselves democratic. But what happens when Member States cease being democratic?  In this talk, Scheppele will address the new democratic deficit that has occurred since at least one Member State has become a competitive authoritarian regime and others are sliding in that direction.  What can the EU do to defend its democratic values?