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.

Continue Reading →

Die transnationale wehrhafte Demokratie

Dürfen wir in Deutschland und Österreich die türkische Demokratie verteidigen? Schließlich bedrohen die Verfassungsreformpläne Erdogans zunächst einmal die türkische demokratische Grundordnung, nicht „unsere“. Können wir trotzdem Auftritte türkischer Politiker in Deutschland und Österreich verbieten, wenn sie für eine Staatsordnung werben, die wir mit „unserer“ für unvereinbar halten? Oder muss uns das Schicksal der liberalen Demokratie in der Türkei egal sein? Das ist die Frage nach der transnationalen wehrhaften Demokratie. Die EMRK könnte die Antwort darauf haben, denn sie ist der Türkei, Deutschland und Österreich gemein.

Continue Reading →

South Africa’s Withdrawal from the ICC: The High Court Judgment and its Limits

Domestic legal challenges to the South Africa government’s decision to withdraw from the ICC are underway, and while the first instalment has a distinctly Brexit flavor, it also foreshadows more substantive constitutional arguments to come.

Continue Reading →

An Eye for an Eye: Law as an Instrument of Revenge in Poland

You question our judges, we question yours: This tit-for-tat strategy has recently been redeployed by the Polish governing party PiS and now jeopardizes the Supreme Court. The message is clear: whoever wishes to use their legal powers against the government can be sure the government will strike back.

Continue Reading →

Poland and the European Commission, Part III: Requiem for the Rule of Law

On 20 February 2017, the Polish government has replied to the European Commission’s rule of law findings. That reply is so clearly absurd, rude and full of ‘alternative facts’ that the case to trigger the sanction mechanism in Art 7 TEU promptly is more compelling than ever. It is time for Member State governments to get their act together and make explicit their disapproval of a government that finds it acceptable not only to violate its national Constitution and EU values in plain sight but also to bully and disrespect EU representatives such as Frans Timmermans and Donald Tusk.

Continue Reading →

Wilders vs. the Dutch Constitution: Constitutional Protection against Discriminatory Policies

Geert Wilders' Freedom Party stands a fair chance of becoming the largest party after the elections next week. His political programme is blurry at best, but parts of it – such as a ban of the Quran – are clearly unconstitutional. Will the constitutional system in the Netherlands be robust enough to withstand this challenge?

Continue Reading →

Marine Le Pen: a Constitutional Program Threatening the French Constitutional Regime

The recent publication of Marine Le Pen’s presidential program has been followed by many comments from the media, specialists and policy makers analysing her economic, social or security propositions. But one particular point has been missed: the different constitutional amendments she intends to achieve. With this constitutional program, her goal is to deeply reform the organization of the French state and its institutions. It is an unnamed constitutional revolution since Ms. Le Pen’s objective is to strike down French liberal democracy in order to in store an almost absolutist presidential regime.

Continue Reading →

Limiting the Constitutional Space of Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland might soon be having a second independence referendum, and Ireland is pushing for Northern Ireland rejoining the EU after Brexit. Why does the noble idea of a differentiated Brexit, that could absorb some of the tensions created by UK’s future withdrawal from the EU, seem to lose traction even within the political elites of Scotland and Northern Ireland? One possible answer might be that the UK political and constitutional framework does not provide for a supportive environment. In fact, the judgment of the Supreme Court in Miller points to the limits of the UK political and constitutional order to accommodate the demands of the devolved nations.

Continue Reading →

"Jeder, der versuchen würde, das Bundesverfassungs­gericht auszuhebeln, würde sich verheben"

Peter Müller im Verfassungsblog-Interview: warum Verfassungsgerichte in Zeiten von Kaczyński, Trump und Brexit so unter Druck geraten, warum die Politik bei der Umsetzung des NPD-Urteils gut nachdenken sollte, und warum Meinungsfreiheit manchmal das Gegenteil von "Das wird man doch noch sagen dürfen!" bedeutet.

Continue Reading →

An Explicit Constitutional Change by Means of an Ordinary Statute? On a Bill Concerning the Reform of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland

Towards the end of January 2017, the Polish Ministry of Justice introduced a bill reforming the current legal status of the National Council of the Judiciary. If passed as proposed, the bill would seriously undermine the independence of the judiciary in Poland.

Continue Reading →