Master of Laws cum laude, University Amsterdam, 1974. Doctor cum laude in Law, University Amsterdam, 1979.
Research assistant constitutional law University Amsterdam, 1974—1977. Legal advisor Constitutional and Criminal Law branch, Public Law Legislation division Ministry of Justice, 1979-1981. Professor administrative and constitutional law Tilburg University (formerly University Brabant), 1981-1989, professor legislation issues, 1994—1995, professor international law, 1995.
Minister justice, minister for Netherlands Antillian and Aruban Affairs Government Netherlands, 1989-1994, minister justice, since 2006. Member for Christian Democratic Alliance House of Representatives, 1994-1995. Member parliament First Chamber (Senate), 1995—2000.
Member Council of State, Netherlands, since 2000, chair administrative jurisdiction division, 2003—2006. Deputy justice Court of Appeal for Administrative Law, Utrecht.
Member of Royal Netherlands Academy Arts and Sciences.
Married Pauline Van de Grift, September 21, 1974. Children: Maurits, Marianne.