Public Engagement

2023. The Ass Carrying Relics: on Judicial Symbols and Trust in the Judiciary (in Dutch)

In this blog-series, I discuss the why of courtroom symbols. These contributions illustrate the importance of symbols and ritual in legitimating the exercise of judicial power. Collectively, the series argues that these symbols are of great value in a time of eroding institutional trust. In this first part (“Adam's Wig”), I discuss the judicial robe. Judicial investiture, I show, aims to cover up the arbitrariness which is always implied when someone exercises authority over another. Clad in robes, the judge is not longer that other person, but a different being altogether.

2023. Sovereignty, Masks, and the Social Contract: on the Rights of Sovereign Citizens (in Dutch)

This blogpost discusses increasing tensions between self-designated “sovereign persons” and public order, paying especial attention to the claim that legal “personhood” is constituted by a “second, legal birth”. In appraising the argument’s philosophical and historical purchase, the post looks to facilitate mutual understanding and hopes to take the sting out of an increasing societal concern.