Panthéon-Assas University

Posts by authors affiliated with Panthéon-Assas University

26 April 2023

A Conservative Constitutional Council Watching over a Conservative Constitution

On 14 April 2023, the French Constitutional Council handed down its decisions on the constitutionality of the controversial pension reform and on the referendum that was supposed to stop it. In substance, the decisions were met with little surprise. What is noteworthy about them, however, is something else: Both decisions are excellent indicators of the profoundly conservative nature of the French Constitution and of the judges watching over its observance.

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03 Juni 2022

The French Constitutional Council’s Problem with Impartiality

If only one example was needed to show the oligarchic nature of the French political system and the limited power of civil society, the game of musical chairs that was played between the Government and the Constitutional Council in the decision “Association La Sphinx” would be perfect. Two ministers directly involved in the drafting of the challenged policy were also judging the constitutionality of the legislative provisions they themselves brought forward. The Constitutional Council’s rules of procedure dismiss impartiality concerns in such cases. This management of conflicts of interests in this court is unacceptable.

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06 Mai 2022

A Court With Powerless Judges

The new appointments of judges to the French Constitutional Council, I described in an earlier post this week, are certainly important but also less decisive than one might think. The structure and the functioning of the Court are built to minimize the power of its judges. The real decisions are made by the legal department of the Court’s administration.

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03 Mai 2022

A Male, White and Conservative Constitutional Judge

In February and March 2022, three new members have been appointed to the French Conseil constitutionnel. A closer look at the new composition shows that France’s constitutional court is composed of a majority of male, white, elitist graduates with a right-wing tilt, drawn from the ranks of politicians and civil servants. In a broader sense, it is actually a good portrait of the current French political system, which seems to resemble some kind of oligarchy.

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