Alexandra KhrebtukovaRead PDFRead PDF
In an era of the expansion and diversification of international law into multiple specialized branches, many have expressed anxiety over its continued coherence as a unified legal system. In what follows I take the perspective that an underexplored challenge posed by the so called fragmentation of international law is not so much that the decisionmaking bodies of specialized international legal regimes will fail to take account of one another, and thereby arrive at potentially inconsistent legal determinations; rather, it is that, in taking account of one another, they will overstep the bounds of their legitimacy in determining the hierarchical relationship between competing normative systems from the perspective of a structural bias in favor of the normative hierarchies particular to their regimes. In arguing for the recognition of interregime conflict as an essentially political conflict between incommensurable systems for prioritizing global values, I argue for a reconception of the state as the empty signifier of public space, to suggest one potentially fruitful avenue for addressing these democratic legitimacy concerns. Further, I argue that such a reconception, and its attendant implications for the concept of state sovereignty, may gradually lead to a more inclusive understanding of an international rule of law. I conclude by linking these themes to their suggested counterparts in the transmission of an appropriate professional sensibility in the course of legal education.