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.

Continue Reading →

The Singapore Opinion or the End of Mixity as We Know It

Last week on Tuesday, with its decision in Opinion 2/15, on the Union’s competence to conclude ‘new generation’ EU trade and investment agreements, the Court dropped a bombshell. The Court’s ruling is set to significantly simplify the EU’s international economic relations with third countries. If the Commission, the Council and the member states had demanded clarity as to which institutions may legitimately pursue the Union’s external action objectives in its commercial relations: clarity is what they earned. The decision indeed has the potential to greatly facilitate an ‘EU-only’ signing and conclusion of future EU trade agreements. At the same time, as we argue below, the Court’s reasoning entails a number of contradicting elements that may add confusion over the legal parameters of post-Lisbon EU external relations conduct.

Continue Reading →

Abusive comparativism: “Pseudo-comparativist” political discourse as a means to legitimizing constitutional change in Turkey

The constitutional amendment process has arguably weakened Turkey’s already-fragile constitutionalist system. This is well known. What is less known and pretty much overlooked is that comparativism and specifically comparative constitutionalism has suffered at the hands of Turkish political elites during the legal and political discussions that preceded the referendum.

Continue Reading →

Ein Gericht rudert zurück: „Nikolaus“ ohne Haus

Mit seinem Beschluss vom 11. April 2017 sieht sich das Bundesverfassungsgericht zum wiederholten Male genötigt, ein Loch zuzuschaufeln, das es zuvor selbst gegraben hat: Wie grenzt man verfassungsunmittelbare Leistungsansprüche auf Leistungen der Gesundheitsversorgung ein, wenn man sie zuvor kühn konstruiert hat?

Continue Reading →

Trump and the FBI: Four very quick questions and answers from SANFORD LEVINSON

US President Donald Trump, to the bewildered horror of many, has dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of an investigation about his aides' ties to Russia. Some even call this situation a constitutional crisis. We have shot Constitutional Law professor Sandy Levinson four very quick questions and received four equally short answers.

Continue Reading →

Pakistan’s Reluctant Constitutionalism

On 20 April 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in one of the greatest cases in its turbulent history: the impeachment of the prime minister for involvements in shady financial dealings that bubbled up after the Panama Papers. Nothing happened; the court only showed Nawaz Sharif the yellow card. But while Pakistan narrowly missed her constitutional moment by a single judge’s vote, the court’s ruling displayed tremendous democratic maturity.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

Populist Constitutions – A Contradiction in Terms?

The meaning of “populism” is deeply contested.  It is striking, though, that many observers appear to agree on one point: whatever else it is, populism is inherently hostile to the mechanisms and, ultimately, the values commonly associated with constitutionalism: constraints on the will of the majority, checks and balances, protections for minorities, and even fundamental […]

Continue Reading →

Of course you can still turn back! On the revocability of the Article 50 notification and post-truth politics

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced yesterday the intention to call a ‘snap’ general election to be held on the 8th of June 2017. This announcement, which has caught literally everyone off-guard, makes some strategic sense if read together with another contention stressed by Prime Minister May: that there is no turning back from Brexit. Which is untrue, both from the legal and political point of view. To put it shortly, the PM is lying.

Continue Reading →