Julien Jeanneney is a Professor of Law at the University of Strasbourg. His research focuses on constitutional law, constitutional theory, administrative law, and international law.
He published a book based on his Ph.D. dissertation, Constitutional Gaps [Les lacunes constitutionnelles] (Dalloz, 2016). He is also the author of several articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in collective books.
Before becoming tenured "agrégé" in Public Law, he received his Ph.D. in Public Law from Sorbonne University. He also holds a Master's degree in Public law and a Master's degree in Philosophy from Sorbonne University and studied in the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. He has also been a Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellow at Princeton University, a Visiting Research Scholar at Yale Law School, and an Associate Professor at the Sorbonne Law School.
Professor of Law — University of Strasbourg (since 2018)
Visiting Research Scholar — Yale Law School (Spring 2017)
Associate Professor — Sorbonne Law School (2015-2018)
Teaching and Research Fellow — Sorbonne Law School (2010-2015)
"Agrégation", Public Law (2018)
Ph.D., Public Law — Sorbonne Law School (2010-2014)
Paris Bar (2011)
- Jane Eliza Procter Fellow, Graduate School, Department of Politics, Woodrow Wilson School (2008-2009)
- Law — Licence (2007), Master 1 "International Law" (2008), Master 2 "Public Law" (2010)
- Philosophy — Licence (2006), Master 1 (2007), Master 2 "Philosophy and Society" (2009)
- History — Licence (2006)
Ecole normale supérieure
- Humanities, competitive exam (2005), graduation (2010)
- Preparatory Classes, Humanities
Institut de recherches Carré de Malberg, University of Strasbourg
Institut des sciences juridique et philosophique de la Sorbonne, Panthéon-Sorbonne University
- Associate Member
Institut Michel Villey, Panthéon-Assas University
- Associate Member
This research started from the claim, made by Hans Kelsen and many other scholars, that gaps are impossible in legal systems in general and particularly in constitutional systems. The book shows that despite the diversity of books and articles striving to prove the impossibility of gaps, in several countries, since the end of the 19th Century, the very idea of gap remains largely vague when used by legal scholars. Hence, it was important to confront the many concepts put behind the word "gap" and positive legal systems, and especially the French 1958 Constitution – the goal of this confrontation being to shed some light on the relative values of each of those concepts.
The first part of the book is based on a "descending" reasoning: starting from the usual claims in legal theory regarding legal gaps, and arriving to positive law, the book shows that constitutional gaps are based on some legal dogmas. Firstly, constitutional gaps are hard to know. One is always prevented by some systemic and linguistic impediments to fully know the gaps. The former impediments proceed from a dogmatic imaginary that surrounds the systemic vision of legal norms. The later impediments prove to be the consequence of indeterminacy in legal communication. Secondly, constitutional gaps are hard to deny. The books shows how limited are the usual claims made in order to prove the necessary completeness of legal systems, when confronted with positive law: first, the arguments based on the idea of an implicit subsidiary norm, ponctual or general, supposed to guarantee the completeness of a system which seems to have a gap; then, the arguments based on the idea of the irrelevance of legal gaps, since the enforcement of legal systems always enable the judge to fill such gaps.
The second part is based on an "ascending" reasoning: starting from positive law, and arriving to claims in legal theory regarding legal gaps, the book shows the actual effects of the argumentative use of the idea of gaps by several interprets of the law in general, and of the French 1958 Constitution in particular. Firstly, constitutional gaps are phenomena presented as something that one can simply discover in the law. As such, gaps are an imperfect measuring tool. Such imperfection derives from the tendency of legal scholars to call "gaps" the consequence of the confrontation of the law as it is, and of the law as it ought to be, or to call "gaps" the technical situation in which the lack of a legal norm deprives a superior norm of legal efficiency. The books claims that a new concept of gaps – called "institutional gaps" – is useful to designate situations in which the lack of a constitutional norm can be deemed more objective than others. Secondly, in a strategic perspective, legal gaps tailored by the interpret that claims that they exist appear a subversive legal tool. Axiological gaps are a model of legal argumentation, used by public authorities or by constitutional judges in order to circumvent constitutional provisions. The book shows how efficient such a tool can be.
The Reappearance of Punitive Closures of Places of Worship
"La résurgence des fermetures punitives
de lieux de culte"
Revue française de droit administratif,
vol. 37, n°3, 2021, p. 519-533
In France, punitive closures of places of worship have been abandoned, for the most part, since the French Revolution. They reappeared half a decade ago, by the combined action of the Parliament, of the Government and of the administrative judge. The closure of the Pantin mosque, in reaction to the murder of Samuel Paty – a middle-school teacher, killed and beheaded by an Islamist on October 2020, after a course he taught on freedom of expression – gave visibility to such a policy. This paper shows that such closures, ordered for punitive purposes, upsets, in a perilous way, the subtle balance institutional guarantees of freedoms, and the collective aspirations for public safety.
Putting the French Revolution in Order. About Pierre Louis Rœderer’s Constitutional Ideas
"La Révolution mise en ordre. Sur la pensée constitutionnelle de Rœderer",
Jus Politicum, vol. 24, 2020, p. 273-303
Pierre-Louis Rœderer was an important actor of the French Revolution and the First Empire. He was active from the Ancien Régime until the July Monarchy. He published a great number of constitutional writings, which deserve to be exhumed. This article shows that they reveal an ambition to put the French Revolution in order. First, in an intellectual manner: he makes an essential distinction between the liberal inventiveness of 1789 and the violence of 1793.Then, in a more concrete way: the concept of "public order" takes a central place in his political theory.
The Non-Theory of “Special Circumstances”.
About the Decision Regarding the “State of Health Emergency”
des circonstances particulières.
Sur la décision relative à la loi
organique d'urgence sanitaire"
Actualité juridique droit administratif, vol. 76, n°15, 2020, p. 843-848
In reviewing an organic law adopted in disregard of a procedural constraint imposed by the Constitution, the Constitutional Council declared it to be in conformity with the Constitution. The interest of its decision lies in its contra constitutionem scope, in the motive that seems to underlie it – the diffuse feeling of a state of necessity – and in its lapidary motivation, symptomatic of a singular way of administering constitutional justice in France.
Droit & Littérature, vol. 3, 2019, p. 97-109
From a legal standpoint, disobedience is ambivalent. It represents a risk for the law: the rejected rule is less effective and less stable, and the sanction attached to its violation loses its dissuasive impact. It also proves to be a resource for the law: prompted by legal norms, this act can lead to the revolution of the normative system altogether.
Scandal and Fury. About Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court
"Le scandale et la fureur.
Sur la confirmation de Brett Kavanaugh à la Cour Suprême",
Jus Politicum, vol. 22, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings leave unanswered an allegation of sexual misconduct and the possibility of a perjury in front of the United States Senate Committee on the judiciary. The article shows that those hearings were not as original as we could think: they fit into a long tradition of scandals that showed up during confirmation processes such as this one, and that shared with this one many common points. What was original, here, was the nominee's defense strategy: Brett Kavanaugh broke with the a tradition of usual behavior of Supreme Court nominees who try to remain calm and to embody the abstract idea of judicial dignity.
Presidential Dignity in the Criminal Court: the Trial of Jacques Chirac
"La dignité présidentielle devant le tribunal correctionnel: le procès de Jacques Chirac", Revue du droit public et de la science politique en France et à l'étranger, vol. 134, n°2, 2018, p. 407-422
More than five years after former French president Jacques Chirac's trial, it is possible to shed a new light on the constitutional provisions regarding the French president of the Republic, beyond their temporal scope, and on the conditions pursuant to which first level politicians can be judged by a ordinary criminal court. Jacques Chirac's trial put an end to the commonly shared idea of the criminal impeccability of the French head of state. This article shows that two common claims in French constitutional law should be nuanced i.e., that a former president would become, after the term of his presidency, an "ordinary" citizen to be held accountable by the law as any other citizen, and that the criminal judge would be in a better position to judge such a politician than the political judge.
Legislative Intent and Normative Ambiguity
"Le recours à l'intention du législateur face aux énoncés normatifs ambigus", Droit & Philosophie, vol. 9, 2018, p. 79-119
It is commonly believed that legislative intent is a way to eradicate the ambiguity of a legal norm. This articles highlights the many confusions surrounding the concept of "legislative intent", and offers a clarification of the phenomena referred to by such an expression. It shows that references to legislative intent are flawed, in several ways, and that many of the claims made about such a use of legislative intent are to be criticized.
Misappropriation of Land Reserves for Commercial Purposes
"Le détournement des réserves foncières à des fins mercantiles", Revue française de droit administratif, vol. 31, n°5, 2015, p. 937-955
For a long time, land reserves have been seen as a way to control the price of the land in France. Many of them are misappropriated by local authorities: by way of example, lands that have been expropriated or pre-empted in the past are then sold by the authorities, retrospectively depriving the land reserves of their purpose. The article claims that administrative interest and general interest should be differentiated in that instance.
Atlantis. Submersion of the State in International Law
"L'Atlantide. Remarques sur la submersion de l'intégralité du territoire d'un Etat", Revue générale de droit international public, vol. 118, n°1, 2014, p. 95-130
The prospect of a rise in sea levels bringing about the total submersion of some island states’ territory raises new questions for international law, questions that should be considered in anticipation of this geophysical phenomenon. The physical disappearance of a State’s territory would be a new cause of State extinction, and all the more original as it would, by assumption, make the succession of States impossible. Notions which form the cornerstone of international law – the territory and the State – will potentially need to evolve when faced with a geophysical phenomenon of such magnitude.
An Argument in Parliament
"Insécurité juridique. Un argument au Parlement", in G. Cerqueira, H. Fulchiron, N. Nord (dir.), L'insécurité juridique: L'émergence d'une notion?, Société de législation comparée
To be published, November 2021
As a phenomenon, legal insecurity is not new. As a legal category, it is as rare as it is recent. As a concept, it suffers from defects similar to that of "legal security", which has been singularly popular since the early 1990s. As an argumentative resource, it is commonly invoked, in plenary sessions, in the French National Assembly. Its interest lies less in what it designates - a set of phenomena already apprehended by other concepts - than in what its increasing invocation reveals about our societies and our contemporary legal systems.
Is the Constitution, in Canada, a Canadian One? About the 1982 "Patriation"
"La Constitution, au Canada, est-elle canadienne? Remarques sur le "rapatriement" de 1982", Révolution, Constitution, Décentralisation. Mélanges en l'honneur de Michel Verpeaux, Dalloz, 2020, p. 347-360
Although largely in control of its own internal and external destiny, Canada has long been unable to amend, without an act of the British Parliament, a Constitution that the British Parliament had adopted for it and had not ratified. The attribution to Canada of the power to directly amend its Constitution - presented as the "Patriation" of the latter - is less a normative revolution than a symbolic and political rupture. This original form of constitutional spatial change within the Commonwealth nonetheless raises several challenging questions for constitutional theory.
"La réclamation en droit constitutionnel", in D. Rousseau (dir), Réclamer en démocratie, Mare & Martin, 2019, p. 51-117
Registers of grievances before the French Revolution, petitions, street demonstrations, requests and appeals, conversations with members of Parliament: all of the above are part of the idea of "constitutional complaints", even if it is not always easy to distinguish precisely what comes under it and what does not. However, the community of properties attached to these phenomena and the questions they bring forward regarding the theories of sovereignty and representation justify that they be studied together. To this end, we develop a concept of "constitutional complaints", and then we apply it to constitutional law.
Constitutional Reformism during the French Fifth Republic
"Le réformisme constitutionnel sous la Ve République", in Ph. Blachèr (dir.), La Constitution de la Cinquième République: 60 ans d'application (1958-2018), LGDJ-Lextenso, 2018, p. 135-153
Constitutional reformism can be understood as the tendency to prescribe a change in the Constitution, in order to improve institutions and the protection of rights and freedoms. Embodied by the public statements that strive to convince that the Constitution should be amended, constitutional reformism sheds a new light on constitutional norms and constitutional interpretations. This chapter circumscribes the concept of "constitutional reformism" before putting into perspective some of the main manifestations of such a phenomenon.
Justice pénale: assumons le clivage [Criminal Justice: Let’s Accept Political Divides], Le Nouvel Observateur, February 4, 2010 (with M. Chichportich)
Broadcasting Scientific Knowledge
V. Ferreres Comella, "Est-il légitime de contrôler la constitutionnalité des lois?", in D. Chagnollaud, M. Troper (dir.), Traité international de droit constitutionnel, Dalloz, 2012, t. 3, p. 69-105
Bénédicte Fauvarque Cosson (ed.), Droit et grands enjeux du monde contemporain, Nathan, 2021 — Co-author and partial coordinator of the first law textbook for French high school students
Member of the “Lehmann Commission” about the future of Ecole Normale Supérieure, report published in L’Archicube, Vol. 5, December 2008, pp. 103-120
“Suisses, bignolles, concierges. Regards sur un mythe urbain [Parisian Concierges. A Literary Myth]”, Chantiers politiques, Publications de l’ENS, Vol. 4 « Le logement ici, ailleurs, nulle part », 2006
Invited Seminars & Presentations
Invited Lectures in Conferences
Aix-Marseille University — January 21-22, 2022
- Le juge constitutionnel et la crise sanitaire [The Constitutional Judge facing Health Crisis]
Académie des sciences morales et politiques — October 11, 2021
- La peine de mort aux États-Unis [Death Penalty in the United States]
University of Strasbourg — September 23-24, 2021
- L’obéissance à la loi est-elle une obligation de l’homme ou du citoyen? [Is Compliance with the Law a Duty of Man or of the Citizen?]
Panthéon-Sorbonne University — September 9-10, 2021
- Rœderer, le Directoire et la loi [Rœderer, the French Directory and Legislative Norms]
Panthéon-Assas University — May 28, 2021
- Sur un article de Tarunabh Khaitan [About a Paper by Tarunabh Khaitan]
Panthéon-Assas University — May 19, 2021
- La perméabilité de la norme juridique à son incarnation [The Permeability of the Legal Norm to Its Incarnation]
Cour de cassation — March 22, 2021
- “Insécurité juridique. Un argument au Parlement [Legal Insecurity. An Argument in Parliament]
University of Texas at Austin — January 13, 2021
- “Wild Constitutionalism in Times of Crisis
Cour de cassation — February 22, 2019
Yale Law School — April 27, 2017
Panthéon-Assas University, Institut Michel-Villey — March 21, 2016
Paris-Nanterre University — May 24, 2011
Queen Mary University, London — November 13, 2020
- “Rule of Law vs. Rule of Trump ?” [in English]
Panthéon-Assas University — November 22, 2019
- Les lacunes constitutionnelles [Constitutional Gaps]
Sciences-po — June 20, 2018
- La théorie du droit pour les non-théoriciens [Legal Theory for Non-Theorists]
Sorbonne Law School — December 11, 2017
- Seminar "Law and Philosophy"
- Topic of the communication: "Around Dominique Rousseau's book, Radicalizing Democracy" [Autour de l'ouvrage de Dominique Rousseau, Radicaliser la démocratie]
Sciences-po — June 21, 2017
- Animation of the workshop regarding "Populism and Constitution" [in English]
Sorbonne Law School — June 19, 2017
- Lunch seminars of the Sorbonne Law School
- "Parliamentary Hearings of Prospective Justices in the U.S. and France" [L'audition parlementaire des candidats à la fonction de juge constitutionnel aux Etats-Unis et en France]
University of Rouen — January 19, 2017
- Seminar "Legal Thought"
- Topic of the communication: "How Singular is the Legal System in Constitutional Law?" [Les singularités de l'esprit de système en droit constitutionnel]
Sciences-po — May 13, 2013
- Legal Argumentation and Institutional Strategies [in English]
Sorbonne Law School — December 12, 2012
- Seminar "Center for Research in Constitutional Law"
- Topic of the communication: "Constitutional Gaps" [Les lacunes constitutionnelles]
University of Strasbourg
- Constitutional Law
- Current Legal and Political Issues
- Dynamics of the U.S. Supreme Court
- Comparative Constitutional Law of European States
Sorbonne Law School
- Major Doctrinal Debates in Public Law
Sorbonne Law School — Courses
- Human Rights and Liberties (2017-2018)
- Comparative Constitutional Process (2016-2018)
- Transnational Law of Public Contracts (2016-2018)
- Public Procurement Law (2016-2018)
- Administrative Law (2016-2018)
- Legal Method (2016-2018)
- Introduction to French and European Law [in English] (2016-2017)
- Current Legal and Political Issues (2015-2016)
- Administrative Law History: Five Authors (2015-2016)
Sorbonne Law School — Seminars
- Law of Public Contracts (2014-2016)
- Constitutional Litigation (2013, 2015)
- Public Property (2015-2016)
- Administrative Law (2010-2016)
French National School of Administration, "E.N.A."
- French Constitutional and Administrative Organisation (2016)
- Constitutional and Administrative Institutions [in English] (2015)
Other Teaching Responsibilities
Director of the dual degree in English and French Law
- Sorbonne Law School and University of London (King's College/Queen Mary University) (2016-2018)
Sorbonne Law School
- Preparation to the Oral Competitive Exam, French National School for the Judiciary, E.N.M. (2016-2018)
- Preparation to the Oral Competitive Exam, Paris Bar Exam (2015-2016)