Normality and Exception: The Advocate General’s Opinion in A.S. and Jafari

On 8 June 2017, Attorney General Eleanor Sharpston delivered her Opinion in a case that goes to the core of what (infamously) came to be known as ‘refugee crisis’. On a broader, more systemic, level, the Opinion could be read as a history of the present bringing to the fore issues of geographical hierarchies and injustice and solidarity inscribed into the structure of EU law.

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One year after the Brexit Referendum: More, Fewer or No Referendums in Europe?

One year after Brexit, the issue of referendums seems to be everywhere: Their desirability cannot be described with a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is simply more than one valid constitutional perspective in evaluating the case for or against referendums.

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An Early Deal-Breaker? EU Citizens’ Rights in the UK after Brexit, and the Future Role of the European Court of Justice

The UK has finally made an offer to allow some EU citizens to retain some rights in the UK after Brexit. There are two sets of issues that arise: the substantive rights that will need to be agreed to, and the enforcement of these rights. The UK government confirmed that the arrangements on offer will be enshrined and enforceable in UK law, that commitments in the Withdrawal Agreement will have the status of international law, but that the CJEU will have no jurisdiction in the United Kingdom. Despite this, there remains much uncertainty.

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March 2017

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Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  • The end of ‘the West’ and the future of global constitutionalism M. K., J. H., J. D. and A. W.

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How to Demolish an Independent Judiciary with the Help of a Constitutional Court

On 20 June, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, with three anti-judges among its members, decided that certain provisions of the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland were unconstitutional. By doing so, the Tribunal unanimously conceded to the motion of the Minister of Justice, who had questioned those provisions in the course of work on reform of the National Council of the Judiciary. The reason why the current Polish Government unexpectedly suspended the process of usurping control of the national judicial system in order to enlist the help of the constitutional court can be understood with the help of a metaphor.

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How dangerous is Emmanuel Macron – really?

To what extent does Emmanuel Macron represent a risk for civil liberties in France? Against this background of looming one-party hegemony and executive overreach, especially in security matters, the Conseil constitutionnel, the French Constitutional Council, found it wise to remind the government of the limits of its police powers.

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More Emolument Trouble For President Trump?

Emoluments is the word of the hour again in the United States. The past week saw the filing of two new lawsuits alleging that President Trump has violated one or more of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments and other benefits from foreign and domestic governments. What’s significant about the new suits is who the plaintiffs are. One is brought by the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C., the other by 196 members of Congress, all Democrats. Are these the plaintiffs who can get a court to rule, for the first time ever, on what “emolument” means as used in the Constitution?

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First Thoughts on the UK General Election Result 2017

The Faustian pact by the UK Tory Party with the Northern Irish DUP will bring all the messy and ugly history of Northern Irish sectarianism back into mainstream of our politics. My recipe for the Tory party to save itself from the damnation of Faust is for it to remove Theresa May "with all deliberate speed" and replace her as leader with Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

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Ukraine’s Ban on Russian Social Media: On The Edge Between National Security and Freedom of Expression

Can Ukraine’s ban of Russian social media be legally justified? While the international community mostly condemns the ban, a closer look at the European Convention of Human Rights reveals that the matter is not so easy.

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Triple Talaq before the Indian Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India has to decide a case that has captured India’s political, constitutional and social imagination – a challenge to the constitutional validity of triple talaq, a practice that allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife unilaterally simply by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.

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The Constitutional Referendum in Turkey: A far Stretch from Right to Free Elections to Referenda?

The Constitutional referendum in Turkey left many voters uncertain about the actual outcome: Unstamped ballots were registered as valid and an appeal against that procedure did not show any satisfying results. Will an appeal in front of the ECtHR show more favourable results?

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Mixity after Opinion 2/15: Judicial Confusion over Shared Competences

In its momentous opinion about the Singapore free trade agreement, the ECJ seemed to have eliminated the option of ‘facultative’ EU-only agreements which do not embrace ISDS. It seems to me that this overlooks an important novelty of Opinion 2/15, which gave explicit judicial blessing to the option of ‘facultative’ EU-only agreements, although the Court hides the innovation behind an inconsistent use of the notion of ‘shared’ powers.

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Judicial Trust as a Zero-Sum Game in Turbulent Times

The current European Rule of Law crisis has resulted in a situation of distrust between national and European institutions, which has led to the necessity to reflect about the relevance of trust and its implications for the creation and sustainability of a European legal area. In this regard, Prof. von Bogdandy has recently stressed in this blog the importance of trust as a crucial element for promoting cooperation in multi-level systems, like the EU, where non-strict hierarchical relationships between national and EU institutions are articulated. In this post, I argue about the importance of trust among judges in the European legal system based on recent empirical findings.

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