POSTS BY Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz

Being a Lawyer in Times of “Constitutional Pandemics”

Engaging in academic discussions aimed at better understanding the rampant anti-constitutional shenanigans and at finding adequate cures – while crucial conceptual work – is no longer sufficient. Much more is needed, no less a constitutional temperament and engagement on the ground that place us and our work in a more general context and explain what and how we respond on a behavioral level. Looking through the prism of temperament invites questions about the necessary virtues that go beyond academic excellence. This is clearly palpable in the evocative concept of constitutional fidelity.

Continue Reading →

The Supranational Rule of Law: Thinking the Future

Writing at the end of 2019 it must be clear that art. 7 TEU is not a viable political option at all. However, the Treaties do contain legal mechanisms to enforce the rule of law against the member states. Art. 7 is not, and must not, be the center of the rule of law world in the EU. Poland’s refusal to obey the Court’s judgments and its readiness to do everything possible to circumvent it strike at the very heart of the EU rule of law. The challenge is to use what is legally available rather than keep finding excuses for not using the mechanisms already in place.

Continue Reading →

The Supranational Rule of Law: Taking Stock

While a transnational conception of the rule of law requires the engagement of and commitment to the EU project from all actors involved, this begs the question as to what happens when the assumptions underlying art. 2 TEU are no longer applicable? For the rule of law, 2019 has been of fundamental importance because we have been taught important constitutional lessons and started getting answers to some of the most crucial constitutional questions. While much still remains shrouded in mystery and question marks are aplenty, at least the judicial trajectory for the rule of law in 2020 has been set in 2019.

Continue Reading →

10 Anti-Constitutional Commandments

Poland is on the eve of the parliamentary elections to be held on October 13, 2019. This provides a good opportunity to step back for a second to analyse the turbulent years of 2015-2019 and to piece together scattered elements of a new constitutional doctrine that has emerged since November 2015. Such a perspective should help readers of Verfassungsblog to truly understand and appreciate the scale and depth of the change that has happened to the prevalent (and what was presumed to be unshakeable) post-1989 constitutional paradigms.

Continue Reading →

On the Rule of Law Turn on Kirchberg – Part II

The times of constitutional crisis call for a more robust approach to institutions and their respective spheres of competence and expertise. Courts of law are in the business of enforcing the rule of law. The European Court of Justice must currently rely on the unwritten and implicit understandings of the constitution to fulfill its task.

Continue Reading →

On the Rule of Law Turn on Kirchberg – Part I

What came to be generically known as “the rule of law crisis” in the European Union has led the European Court of Justice to add a new chapter to its own jurisprudential tradition. Since 2017, the Court has been laying the foundations for a jurisprudential paradigm shift in order to defend the integrity of the EU legal system and it can thereby rely on the functions that the EU Treaties confer upon it.

Continue Reading →

22 Years of Polish Constitution: Of Lessons not Learnt, Opportunities Missed, and Challenges still to be Met

The Polish constitution, unlike the German which will celebrate its 7-O on 23 May of this year, has no big birthday scheduled this year. Nevertheless, the 22. anniversary of the Polish constitution on 2 April offers a good opportunity to ponder about the Constitution’s performance so far, to appreciate its resilience, to celebrate its many achievements and, last but not least, to map out its possible future trajectory.

Continue Reading →

The Role of Citizen Emotions in Constitutional Backsliding – Mapping Out Frontiers of New Research

Liberal, constitutional democracy is decaying in Eastern Europe. Important liberal institutions and norms face threats even in stronger and more stable democracies in Western Europe, and perhaps especially in the United States. the assault on key liberal institutions by populist movements has been as successful as it has because those groups have been able to harness – and fuel – the anger and anxieties of citizens.

Continue Reading →

From Constitutional to Political Justice: The Tragic Trajectories of the Polish Constitutional Court

The Polish Constitutional Court, once a proud institution and an effective check on the will of the majority, is now a shell of its former self. The constitutional scars of the capture affect not only the legitimacy of the institution, but also the very constitutionality of the “decisions” rendered by the new court in 2017-2018.

Continue Reading →

The Democratic Backsliding and the European constitutional design in error. When will HOW meet WHY?

When is the constitutional design of any (domestic, international, supranational) polity in error? On the most general level such critical juncture obtains when polity’s founding document (treaty, convention, constitution) protects against the dangers that no longer exist or does not protect against the dangers that were not contemplated by the Founders. While discussion of the evolution of human rights and international actors in response to social change (LGBT, euthanasia, abortion) is well documented, such evolution with regard to political change (transition from one sort of government to another) is less well documented. Constitutions not only constitute but should also protect against de-constitution. For supranational legal order to avoid a deadlock of „being in error” in the above sense, the systemic threats coming from within the polity’s component parts must be recognised and constitutional design be changed accordingly.

Continue Reading →