Transnational Partisanship vs Transnational Democracy

The European Parliament has called for he creation of a European cross-border constituency, a transnational list of candidates from across the continent. This idea, recently popularised by French president Emmanuel Macron, has been gutted by the European People’s Party, though – a move which could itself be seen as a powerful manifestation of the importance of transnational partisanship in the EU.

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Caviar, Corruption and Compliance – New Challenges for the Council of Europe

Compliance with judicial decisions often poses challenges, all the more so when international courts such as the European Court of Human Rights are involved. How to react to a failure to abide by judgments of the ECHR has been a question for the Council of Europe for some time. But the suspicious background of a currently unfolding episode involving Azerbaijan may offer an unusually clear justification for a strong reaction even to a single case of non-compliance.

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Crossing the Rubicon

During the last weeks, a group of Greek anarchists that go by the name of Rubicon has attacked the Council of State and a number of other public buildings. So pervasive is the activity of this group of disruptors that it has become the background to a new normality in Greece. Rubicon is not a terrorist group, it is not a political party, it is not a group of vigilante Robin Hoods. It is the symptom of a disease. The disease is the brutalisation of a frustrated, enraged society that hates everyone and also hates itself.

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Ethnocentric Mambo in Catalonia

Catalonia is a fragile object. As in many other places, history has assembled fragments without completely fusing them, leaving behind scars that remind us of the effort required to join what is diverse. These scars demand special attention because, contrary to societies where the wounds that produced them are old and almost forgotten, in Catalonia many of the wounds were still suppurating just a few decades ago. As they do now. For months, we have been at risk of tearing them open.

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Save the Constitution!

India’s oppositional Congress party wants to impeach Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India, who stands accused of allocating cases to the respective benches at his own, politically right-leaning whim. In its fight against the governing BJP party, the Congress party has launched a "Save the Constitution!" campaign. Unfortunately, its leader Rahul Ghandi’s family has a history of entanglement with the constitution of its own.

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Kundin oder Kunde – Geschlechtergerechte Sprache revisited

Vor gut zwei Monaten hat der Bundesgerichtshof sein Urteil zur geschlechtergerechten Sprache in Bankformularen gefällt und damit eine Menge Aufregung erzeugt. Jetzt liegen die Urteilsgründe vor. Obwohl schon viel Sinnvolles zu diesem Urteil geschrieben wurde, lohnt dennoch ein erneuter Blick aus sprachwissenschaftlicher Sicht auf die Argumente, mit denen das oberste deutsche Zivilgericht der 80-jährigen Klägerin das Recht darauf verneint, als „Kundin“ angesprochen zu werden und nicht als „Kunde“.

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Nicht nur eine Frage der Finanzierung: Karlsruhe verhandelt zum Rundfunkbeitrag

Dass das Bundesverfassungsgericht letzte Woche zum Rundfunkbeitrag zwei Tage mündlich verhandelt hat, überrascht auch vor dem Hintergrund, dass das Bundesverwaltungsgericht alle relevanten Fragen schon geprüft hatte. Wenn das Gericht nun doch grundsätzlicher prüft, stellen sich im Wesentlichen zwei Fragen: Ist der Beitrag in der aktuellen Ausgestaltung wirklich als Gegenleistung für den individuell zurechenbaren Vorteil anzusehen, die öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkprogramme empfangen zu können? Und wird dieser Vorteil verlässlich erfasst, wenn die Beitragspflicht einzig darauf abstellt, dass jemand eine Wohnung unterhält?

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There is No Such Thing As a Particular „Center and Eastern European Constitutionalism“

After a new landslide electoral victory by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a fresh perspective on constitutional developments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has started taking shape. It could be described as constitutional appeasement. The argument goes that given a widespread popular support for the constitutionally backsliding regimes in Hungary, Poland as well as elsewhere, we should start examining our own theoretical premises from which we have been observing and evaluating the developments in CEE. Perhaps, there is not everything wrong with CEE political and institutional developments?

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Dashcams: Wenn die ZPO erlaubt, was das Datenschutzrecht verbietet

Mit Dashcams den Verkehr aufzuzeichnen, kann nach einem Unfall in einem zivilrechtlichen Haftpflichtprozess sehr nützlich sein – obwohl man das datenschutzrechtlich eigentlich nicht darf. Der BGH hat in dieser Woche zwei rechtliche Problemlagen geklärt, die deutsche Gerichte seit geraumer Zeit beschäftigt haben: Zum einen betrifft dies die datenschutzrechtliche Zulässigkeit des Einsatzes von Dashcams im öffentlichen Verkehrsraum. Zum anderen deren zivilprozessuale Verwertbarkeit, insbesondere wenn die Aufnahmen rechtswidrig erfolgten.

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The Białowieża case. A Tragedy in Six Acts

In the judgment of 18th of April 2018 the European Court of Justice has ruled (unsurprisingly) that by carrying on logging activities on the UNESCO-protected Białowieża Forest, Poland has failed to fulfil its obligations under EU law. In the Białowieża case the process of judicialization of the EU governance called for a concerted action and dual commitments: from the Court and the Commission. The Court did its part, Commission failed and reverted to its bad ways from the past: negotiating with the government who has been giving short shrift to the Commission and to the core values of the EU law for two years and will continue doing that under the pretense of striving for a compromise with the EU. The Commission continues to be missing one crucial element: the politics of resentment are not just one-off aberration.

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From DNA Tracing to DNA Phenotyping – Open Legal Issues and Risks in the new Bavarian Police Task Act (PAG) and beyond

Is Germany facing a tidal shift in police powers? Does the border between the prosecution of criminal offences and the prevention of looming dangers, which has so far been regarded as self-evident and constitutionally necessary, fall? Will people who are suspected of maybe committing crimes in the future only on the basis of statistical data or non-individualized investigative approaches be preventively restricted in their fundamental rights and even imprisoned in the long term? Is Germany on the way to comprehensive predictive policing, for which considerable risks of discrimination will be accepted? These questions arise from the critics of the draft act on police tasks, which the Bavarian state government intends to pass this week. Beside drones and online seizure one of the crucial investigative issues is the so called “DNA phenotyping”.

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The Israeli Override Clause and the Future of Israeli Democracy

The recent proposals to enact an override clause to the Israeli Basic Law; Human Dignity and Liberty has triggered a fierce public debate in Israeli legal and political circles. Under this proposal, the Knesset could reenact a statute that was declared void by the courts.   As is characteristic of such debates, the proponents and opponents of the override clause claim to defend democracy, strengthen the protection of rights and defend restore the proper balance between different branches of government. The purpose of this post is to explain the background of this debate and evaluate the pros and cons of the override clause in the Israeli context.

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