Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal under PiS control descends into legal chaos

Immediately after the governing Law and Justice party in Poland established its control over the Constitutional Tribunal, the court has plunged into a whole number of legal imbroglios undermining its authority and calling into question the legality of its verdicts. The new President’s nomination is contested even by a supposed ally, and the remaining "old" judges seem to have adopted a strategy of passive resistance. This is probably what Law and Justice wanted to achieve: it is much easier to govern without a strong constitutional court.

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Living under the unconstitutional capture and hoping for the constitutional recapture

After the unconstitutional capture of the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland, ordinary courts will have to step in to provide constitutional review. Polish judges are faced with the most fundamental challenge since 1989. Are they ready to be constitutional judges in times of constitutional emergency?

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Statement by the former presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal: Marek Safjan, Jerzy Stępień, Bohdan Zdziennicki and Andrzej Zoll

Four former presidents of the beleaguered Polish Constitutional Tribunal have issued a powerful statement calling on the legal community and the President to defend the Court and, indeed, the constitutional order of the Republic.

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Is the EU Commission’s Rule of Law Fight about Poland already lost?

In ten days, the deadline set by the EU Commission to Poland in the current stand-off about the Polish constitutional crisis will expire. A lot is at stake for both sides. In Warsaw few expect that the Commission will still be able to keep the ruling party from having it their way.

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Hat die EU das Kräftemessen mit Polen bereits verloren?

Zehn Tage. So lange hat Polens Regierungspartei mit dem schönen Namen "Recht und Gerechtigkeit" (PiS) noch Zeit, den Konflikt mit der EU-Kommission um das polnische Verfassungsgericht beizulegen. Für beide Seiten steht enorm viel auf dem Spiel. Doch in Warschau rechnet kaum jemand damit, dass die EU die Entmachtung des Verfassungsgerichts noch stoppen kann. Eine Recherche.

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Constitutional justice in Handcuffs? Gloves are off in the Polish Constitutional Conflict

A high-ranking PiS politician has announced that those Constitutional Tribunal judges who will not bend to the will of the PiS majority will be removed from office. This marks a new step of escalation in the ongoing constitutional crisis in Poland.

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Polish Constitutional Tribunal goes down with dignity

On 11 of August 2016 the Polish Constitutional Tribunal (“Tribunal”) decided case K 39/16 in which it disqualified, for the second time in the span of 5 months, court-packing provisions contained in the Law of 22 July, 2016 on the Constitutional Tribunal. Separation of powers, judicial independence and effective functioning of the constitutional court were again the keywords that informed the analysis. After this most recent case the clock is ticking on the Tribunal and this time the self-defense by way of courageous judicial pronouncements might not be enough to survive.

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Statutory tinkering: on the Senate’s changes to the Law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

The infamous law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of July 7th has met with an outcry of criticism among constitutional scholars. Last week, the upper chamber of the Polish Parliament, the Senate, has introduced a number of changes to meet some of the concerns. On the whole the effort amounts to little more than statutory tinkering, though. The effect, the emasculation of constitutional control in Poland, remains unchanged.

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"What is Going on in Poland is an Attack against Democracy"

"A constitutional coup d’état": Wojciech Sadurski, one of Poland’s foremost jurisprudence scholars, dissects the strategy of the Polish government to disembowel the Polish Constitutional Tribunal.

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Farewell to the Polish Constitutional Court

The Law of July, 7th 2016 on the Polish Constitutional Court leaves no doubts that the parliamentary majority lead by Law and Justice party (PiS) is not holding back and is determined to see its plan through to make sure that Court is finally tamed and incapacitated. The Law signals the death knell for the Court. The institution once recognized as powerful, efficient and independent from whatever powers that be is left at the mercy of the politicians, and unable to effectively wield its power of judicial review. Most importantly, the Law will make it impossible for the Court to provide an effective check on the excesses of parliamentary majority.

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