The CJEU’s headscarf decisions: Melloni behind the veil?

On 14 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down two landmark judgments on the Islamic headscarf at work. The twin decisions, Achbita and Bougnaoui, were eagerly awaited, not only because of the importance and delicacy of the legal issues the cases raised, but also because the Advocates General had reached different conclusions on those issues in their Opinions.

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Sententia non existens – the future of jurisprudence of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal?

One of the latest topics in the debate on the future of constitutional control in Poland concerns the possibility and the need of common court judges to directly apply the Constitution. This possibility has already existed in theory – according to the Article 8 para 2 of the Constitution of Poland, the provisions of the Constitution shall apply directly, unless the Constitution provides otherwise. However, in practice, until now in case when the conformity of the normative act with the Constitution was questioned in particular case, the court has always referred the question of law the Constitutional Tribunal. The need to come back to the discussion on direct applicability of the Constitution stems from the questionable legality of some Constitutional Tribunal rulings in connection with the incorrect appointment of three so-called “quasi-judges” in December 2015.

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Impeaching Remnants of the Authoritarian Past: A Constitutional Moment in South Korea

Last Friday, effective March 10 at exactly 11:21 a.m., the sitting President Park Geun-hye was removed from her office by a unanimous decision of the South Korean Constitutional Court. With public life coming to a standstill as eyes focused on TV and internet live broadcasting, the acting Chief Justice delivered the court decision. The conclusion of the constitutional impeachment procedure marked the climax of a transformative ongoing constitutional moment in South Korea.

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Von Angstklauseln und Schwarze-Peter-Gesetzgebung: der Kindergeld-Gesetzentwurf des BMF

Deutschland soll Unionsbürgern für ihre Kinder, die nicht in Deutschland leben, das Kindergeld kürzen können. So will es das Bundesfinanzministerium, das aber auch weiß, dass das unionsrechtlich derzeit gar nicht geht. Offenbar meint man, im aufziehenden Wahlkampf auch hierzulande politisches Kapital aus der Überschrift „Wir würden ja gerne den Sozialmissbrauch bekämpfen, wenn nicht die böse EU wäre…“ ziehen zu können. Hat es so eine plumpe „Schwarzer Peter-Gesetzgebung“ in Deutschland schon einmal gegeben?

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Le gouvernement de soi et des autres: Zu Auftrittsverboten für türkische Regierungsmitglieder

Die hochproblematische Verfassungsreform in der Türkei führt innerhalb der EU zu ungewöhnlichen Allianzen: In seltener Einmütigkeit wird länderübergreifend von ganz rechts bis weit ins linke politische Spektrum hinein ein Auftrittsverbot für türkische Politiker gefordert. Das gefühlt häufigste Argument bemüht dabei die Souveränität: Man möchte die Kampagne der türkischen Regierung für ihre die Gewaltenteilung gefährdende Verfassungsreform nicht auch noch im eigenen Land haben. In einer pluralistischen Gesellschaft weckt solche Einmütigkeit Zweifel, die sich bei näherem Hinschauen verfestigen – und zwar in juristischer wie politischer Hinsicht.

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Once More unto the Breach? An Independent Scotland, Europe, and the Law

Today, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she would ask the Scottish Parliament to allow her to agree with the UK Government on another independence referendum. The Scottish people should be given a right to decide – once the terms of Brexit are known – whether to stick with the UK and leave the EU or pursue the route of independence and stay within ‘Europe’. This blog post will briefly outline some of the legal obstacles on the way, both internal and external.

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Democratizing the Euro Area without the European Parliament: Benoît Hamon’s “T-Dem”

On the 10th March, the official candidate of the Socialist Party for the French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, outlined his programme for the European Union. This programme, whilst being against austerity and in favour of more flexibility as regards EU requirements in terms of public budgets and public debts, comes with a treaty proposal, the draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area (dubbed « T-Dem »). This treaty, which was prepared by the candidate together with the superstar economist Thomas Piketty (who has joined his team) is supposed to bring more democracy to the governance of the Euro area. However noble (and necessary) this ambitious idea might seem, the way this draft treaty has been engineered raises not only political but also legal questions.

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The CJEU on Humanitarian Visa: Discovering ‘Un-Chartered’ Waters of EU Law

Limiting the scope of EU law vis-à-vis national legislative measures is one thing but creating un-Chartered territory in EU law is another. It is understandable why the Court would want to stay away from the currently toxic migration politics. But it is worrying that it is willing to further limit the scope of the Charter when it might be needed the most.

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Sanctuary Cities in Deutschland: Widerstand gegen die Abschiebepolitik der Bundesregierung

Sanctuary Cities nennen sich in den USA und Kanada Städte, die sich weigern, an der Abschiebungspolitik des Bundesstaates mitzuwirken. Die Idee dazu etablierte sich in den 80er Jahren in Nordamerika und verbreitete sich weiter nach Großbritannien, wo sich verschiedene Städte zusammengeschlossen haben, die die Kultur der Gastfreundschaft und des Willkommens beleben möchten und das Ziel haben, dass sich geflüchtete Menschen dort sicher fühlen. Nun gründen sich auch in deutschen Städten Initiativen, die sich Ähnliches für ihre Kommunen wünschen.

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The Asymmetric Bet of Europe

One of the options in Jean-Claude Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe is an asymmetric Europe. While some comparative lawyers still treat asymmetry as an exception in the life of federal polities, actually this concept has progressively acquired a key role in the history of federalism. In other words, today asymmetry is the rule rather than the exception in this field.

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