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Constitutional Law

2010

International human rights

Journal

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Panacea Or Pathetic Fallacy? The Swiss Ban On Minarets, Lorenz Langer Jan 2010

Panacea Or Pathetic Fallacy? The Swiss Ban On Minarets, Lorenz Langer

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

On November 29, 2009, Swiss voters adopted a ballot initiative introducing a constitutional ban on the construction of minarets. This Article provides a thick description of the minaret vote's context. A legal analysis addresses the implications of the ban under national, regional, and international normative frameworks. The Article argues that the ban is irreconcilable with the Swiss constitutional bill of rights and several international human right provisions. In Switzerland, however, respect for the vox populi potentially trumps any concern over conflicting international obligations, and there is no effective judicial review of initiatives. This lack of judicial review is partly a …