Marriage Equality and the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Time for Comparative Law

The enactment of marriage equality in Germany two weeks ago has sparked a constitutional debate that is taking place in Verfassungsblog like in many other media. There will probably be constitutional challenges to the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples in German law at the level of ordinary laws and without amendment of the German Basic Law, because many believe that a constitutional amendment would have been required. Hence, as it very often happens in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court will very likely have to decide on the question. However, in the international scene of constitutional jurisdictions it will not need to break any ice.

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The Spanish Constitutional Court on the Path of Self-Destruction

Recently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has published one more decision in application of the new reform of the Law on Constitutional Court which increased its powers for the execution of its own decisions. It is clear that Catalonian sovereignist politicians are acting irresponsibly and provoking the Spanish powers. The only good way to answer to this challenge is a balanced and neutral response of the Constitutional Court every time they adopt an illegal act. Instead, the Court assumed a political role. He tries to stop even any talk about independence. By doing so, it fails to respect its own role as keeper of a Constitutional framework where very diverse ideologies can be discussed.

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Damaging the Legitimacy of the Spanish Constitutional Court

The Spanish legislative burdens the Constitutional Court with the task to prevent Catalonia from pursuing independence. To use the Constitutional Court as the main barricade against any attempt at starting the independence process does tremendous damage to the Court itself as it undermines its perception as neutral arbiter and, thereby, its legitimation.

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The Catalan Secessionist Movement and Europe – Remarks on the Venice Commission’s Opinion 827/2015

The Venice Commission has issued an opinion on a Spanish statute on the Constitutional Court’s authority. This statute is to be read as a concrete response to the Catalan secessionist movement. The Commission now reveals the European perspective on it…

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What is the Situation of Constitutional Jurisdiction in Europe? Worrying News from Spain

Although the situation in Poland is unique, the speed at which the Polish Constitutional Court has been subjugated should make the rest of us think about the regulations concerning our Constitutional jurisdictions and about the behaviour of other political actors with respect to them. Recent developments in Spain have led me to these reflections, and I would like to describe them briefly here to sound the alarm about what happens in other European countries more discretely than in Poland, but also very disturbingly.

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Catalonian Independentism, the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Perils of the Middle Way

The Spanish Law 15/2015 (Organic Law) was a key element of the last Government of Mariano Rajoy in his fight against Catalonian Independentism. It gives the Spanish Constitutional Court a new executive power to suspend temporally a democratic authority if it does not obey a Constitutional Court’s resolution. A recent decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court has validated the Bill on the idea that the Court must have special deference to the legislature whenever the judgment is on the statute that regulates the jurisdiction of Court. The Court solves the dispute without a deep discussion on the merits. Once again the Spanish Court leaves a feeling of intellectual fragility.

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Scotland, Catalonia and the Constitutional Taboo of Secession

The UK constitution does not allow Scotland to unilaterally secede in the case of Brexit – in that respect its situation is not unlike Catalonia’s. Given the political nature of the UK uncodified constitution, it is almost unthinkable that a similar judicialisation of politics will occur in the UK as it did in Spain. However, unless Westminster takes seriously into account the demands of the devolved administrations in the Brexit negotiations, there is a real danger that a serious constitutional stalemate will occur.

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"Ein Land hat ein Recht darauf, regiert zu werden"

Spanien steht vor Neuwahlen, nachdem die Parteien im Parlament monatelang keine mehrheitsfähige Regierung zustandegebracht haben. Ex-Verfassungsgerichtspräsident und -Generalanwalt am EuGH Pedro Cruz Villalón sieht im Verfassungsblog-Interview die Parteien in der Schuld und prophezeit seinem Land eine assymetrisch föderale Zukunft – möglicherweise mit Vorbildfunktion für Europa.

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Regierungsbildung in Spanien: der unbedachte König und der listige Anwärter

Spanien hat fast zwei Monate nach den Parlamentswahlen immer noch keine Regierung. Im Augenblick bemüht sich Pedro Sánchez, der sozialistische Spitzenkandidat, um eine mehrheitsfähige Koalition. Dabei war es eigentlich sein Konkurrent Mariano Rajoy von der konservativen Partido Popular, der als relativer Wahlsieger den Auftrag zur Regierungsbildung hätte bekommen sollen. Dieser hatte aber das Angebot des Königs überraschenderweise abgelehnt – ein Vorgehen, das gegen Artikel 99 der Spanischen Verfassung (SV) verstößt und die ohnehin schon schwierige Regierungsbildung zusätzlich verfassungsrechtlich überschattet.

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