16 November 2023

Is France Desacralizing its Constitution?

From 2002 to the present day, hundreds of constitutional bills have been proposed by delegates in Parliament, with forty of them being introduced within a year following the renewal of the Assemblée Nationale after the 2022 legislative elections. Each bill contains unique and far-reaching provisions. The proposals illustrate a shift within secondary constituent power, which no longer perceives the Constitution as a sacred text, the supreme standard of the French legal order, but as a wish list, and as an object of political communication subject to trivial media considerations. Continue reading >>

Mikropolitik des Rechtsrucks

„Wir müssen endlich im großen Stil abschieben“. Diese Aussage, wirkmächtig platziert auf dem Spiegel-Cover vom 21. Oktober 2023, stammt nicht von einem oder einer derjenigen Politiker:innen, von denen es unmittelbar zu erwarten gewesen wäre. Obwohl Forderungen nach Abschiebungen im „großen Stil“ eigentlich eine klare politische Heimat am rechten Rand haben, stammt sie von einem Sozialdemokraten, Olaf Scholz. Für viele Beobachter:innen aus den Rechts- und Sozialwissenschaften kommt dieses Spiegel-Cover dennoch nicht überraschend, sondern fügt sich nahtlos ein in die Chronologie des Rechtsrucks der deutschen Politik und Gesellschaft. Continue reading >>

Paving the Way to Autocracy?

On November 3, 2023, the Italian Council of Ministers approved a Bill to amend the Constitution, encapsulating what Giorgia Meloni’s Cabinet advertises as a measure to enhance executive stability and streamline policy implementation for medium to long-term objectives. The real goal appears to be cementing the Prime Minister’s grip on power after general elections, as evidenced by the intention to enshrine the majority bonus in the Constitution. Yet, from a constitutional law perspective, the majority bonus raises a fundamental issue related to how the Italian Constitutional Court interprets the eternity clause in the Constitution. Continue reading >>
15 November 2023

Between Recalibration and Distortion

In its current form, the project to change the form of government that the Italian government headed by Ms Giorgia Meloni is preparing to present to the Senate seems difficult to accept. The project claims to address the issue of unstable and short-term cabinets in Italy (65 in 75 years, one every 12 months from 1948 through 1994 when a new electoral law was applied; still one every 21 months thereafter). Unfortunately, it is both poorly drafted and contains contradictions that make it not only impracticable but of dubious functionality with respect to the very objectives it proposes to achieve. However, as it has been decades since the problem the draft says it wants to tackle has been acknowledged, I shall assume its proponents' good intentions and suugest how the text could be improved. Below I briefly describe the project, trace its distant and recent origins, indicate what it is lacking and how it should be changed. Continue reading >>

Biden, Bletchley, and the emerging international law of AI

Everyone talks about AI at the moment. Biden issues an Executive Order while the EU hammers out its AI Act, and world and tech leaders meet in the UK to discuss AI. The significance of Biden’s Executive Order can therefore only be understood when taking a step back and considering the growing global AI regulatory landscape. In this blogpost, I argue that an international law of AI is slowly starting to emerge, pushing countries to adopt their own position on this technology in the international regulatory arena, before others do so for them. Biden’s Executive Order should hence be read with exactly this purpose in mind. Continue reading >>

Downhill All The Way

On November 8th, the 3rd Criminal Chamber of Turkey's Court of Cassation, the nation's apex court for civil and criminal matters, defied the Constitutional Court (the TCC) and explicitly accused it of engaging in “judicial activism.” The judicial feud between the two high courts stemmed from the individual application of Can Atalay, an opposition MP from the Workers Party of Turkey (TİP), challenging his ongoing imprisonment despite obtaining parliamentary immunity in the May 2023 elections. Indeed, the 3rd Chamber's wholly ungrounded defiance is a failure of the constitutional order, illustrating how the Constitution no longer serves its core function of authoritatively channeling, restraining, and organizing state power. However, the Atalay controversy is neither unprecedented nor a true turning point in Turkey's ailing democracy—it is just another symptom of a deepening dysfunction. Continue reading >>
14 November 2023

A Frozen Constitution in a Sunburnt Country

Australia’s Constitution remains frozen, with the loss of a referendum on 14 October 2023. Only eight out of forty-five national referendums to amend the Constitution have succeeded, with no successful change since 1977. The 2023 referendum would have recognised Indigenous Australians in the national Constitution and provided a means, described as a ‘Voice’, for them to make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this post, I will seek to give an overview of the reasons for the failure of the referendum, including the ‘No’ arguments, factors that contributed to the ‘No’ vote, and the demographics of the voting outcome. Continue reading >>

The Rule of Arbitrariness as the New Constitutional Order in Turkey

Nearly two weeks after the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the Republic, Turkey's constitutional order faced one of the most significant judicial crises in its history when the Court of Cassation, the highest court of ordinary jurisdiction, and the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) clashed over the fate of imprisoned opposition politician Can Atalay. How should we interpret this constitutional crisis? Is it the death of constitutionalism in Turkey? Is it an attempt to test the boundaries of legitimacy before establishing the rules of a new constitutional order? Continue reading >>

Offshoring Asylum the Italian Way

On 6 November 2023, the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama announced the signing of the Agreement for Strengthening of Collaboration in the Field of Migration. The agreement proposes a relocation of asylum seekers who are rescued at sea by Italian vessels to two centres that would be built in Albania and could host up to 3’000 people. This is part of a broader trend whereby European governments seek to move asylum procedures outside of their territory. At the same time, the agreement contains some innovations compared to previous proposals. Indeed, this move has been hailed as a “model and example for other collaboration agreements of this kind” by the Italian Prime Minister. This article contends that this is unlikely to be the case: the legality and feasibility of offshoring asylum procedures remain dubious at best. Continue reading >>

#MPIL100 – Beginn einer Spurensuche

Das Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (MPIL) kann 2024 auf eine 100-jährige Geschichte zurückblicken. Grund genug, die historische Entwicklung des Instituts und seinen Beitrag in Wissenschaft und Praxis zu erinnern und zu reflektieren. Continue reading >>

Im Wettlauf mit der Zeit

Die Ampel hat sich in ihrem Koalitionsvertrag bis 2025 eine umfassende Reform des Sicherheitsrechts vorgenommen. Wie so oft in dieser Legislatur kam ihr dabei jedoch etwas in die Quere – diesmal das Bundesverfassungsgericht. Karlsruhe erklärte im Herbst 2022 bestimmte Informationsübermittlungsvorschriften des Bundesverfassungsschutzgesetzes für verfassungswidrig – und setzte dem Gesetzgeber enge Fristen zur Reparatur bis Ende 2023. Nicht viel Zeit, um einen Kernbereich des Sicherheitsrechts neu zu justieren und zugleich in einem hoch volatilen politischen Umfeld angemessene Regelungen zu finden. Inzwischen liegt ein Gesetzentwurf vor, der allerdings an mehreren Stellen mit den Vorgaben aus Karlsruhe offensichtlich nicht zu vereinbaren ist. Continue reading >>
13 November 2023

Looking at Berlin, Ending up on Capitol Hill

On 3 November 2023, the Italian Council of Ministers approved a constitutional reform bill to introduce the direct election of the Prime Minister in Italy. The reform would grant the Prime Minister significantly broader powers than those currently outlined in the Constitution. The proposal is now set to be evaluated by the Italian Parliament, and possibly submitted to a popular referendum if it is not approved by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. While it claims to ensure the continuity of governments – a known weak point of the Italian political system - it undermines the very foundation of parliamentary representation: the party system. Breathing the spirit of plebiscitary populism, this misguided reform, while seemingly looking towards Berlin for inspiration, risks in a worst-case scenario creating an atmosphere reminiscent of Capitol Hill on a fateful day a few years ago. Continue reading >>

A Primer on the UK Online Safety Act

The Online Safety Act (OSA) has now become law, marking a significant milestone in platform regulation in the United Kingdom. The OSA introduces fresh obligations for technology firms to address illegal online content and activities, covering child sexual exploitation, fraud, and terrorism, adding the UK to the array of jurisdictions that have recently introduced new online safety and platform accountability regulations. However, the OSA is notably short on specifics. In this post, we dissect key aspects of the OSA structure and draw comparisons with similar legislation, including the EU Digital Services Act (DSA). Continue reading >>

A Second Term for „the World’s coolest Dictator”?

On October 26, Nayib Bukele, current President of the Republic of El Salvador, officially registered his candidacy for the presidency. This is in clear violation of El Salvador’s Constitution which prohibits the renewed, consecutive candidacy of a sitting president.  In the "Western" media, Bukele has mostly made the news for establishing "mega-prisons" and conducting mass arrests under his watch. In this blogpost, I highlight the political moves that Bukele has made to legitimize his rule and methods, including his repeated extension of El Salvador’s state of emergency and his capture of the Constitutional Chamber. Together with his renewed candidacy, his rule has destroyed El Salvador’s adherence to its own constitutional framework. Continue reading >>
11 November 2023
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Antisemitismus – eine Gefahr

Seit dem Terrorangriff der Hamas am 7. Oktober 2023 auf die israelische Zivilbevölkerung haben auch die antisemitischen Vorfälle in Deutschland enorm zugenommen. Der Bundesverband der Recherche- und Informationsstellen Antisemitismus e.V. (RIAS) geht in seinem Monitoring-Bericht für den Zeitraum vom 07.10.23 bis zum 15.10.23 von einem Anstieg von 240 % im Vergleich zum Vorjahreszeitraum aus – eine akute Bedrohungslage für Jüdinnen:Juden in Deutschland. Im Rahmen des Beitrags wird aufgezeigt, dass unter hohen Voraussetzungen auch (drohende) antisemitische Handlungen und Äußerungen Einschränkungen von Versammlungen durch Auflagen, Auflösungen oder gar Verbote rechtfertigen können. Dabei wird die grundsätzliche Notwendigkeit einer antisemitismuskritischen Gefahrenprognose ins Zentrum gestellt. Continue reading >>
10 November 2023

Voting To Annex?

On December 3, Venezuelans will vote in a referendum on the annexation of Esequibo to the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This blog post argues that the referendum has implications for both domestic constitutional law and international law. Since the referendum cannot have any practical effect under international law, it also violates the voters’ constitutional right to participate freely in public affairs. By prioritizing solely the interests of Venezuela over the sovereignty of Guyana, the referendum might be contrary to the principles of peaceful dispute settlement and the prohibition of force, as stipulated in the United Nations Charter. It could also challenge the established legal doctrine of state consent and infringe upon the principle of prioritizing international obligations over national law. Continue reading >>

Verlockung der Macht

Ein Ministerium mit den „eigenen Leuten“ zu besetzen, ist eine Verlockung für jede Regierungspartei. Am Beispiel Thüringen lässt sich derzeit das breite Arsenal der sauberen und der unsauberen Praktiken nachvollziehen, die Beamtenapparate mit dem parteieigenen Öl gefügig zu machen. Während das beamtenrechtliche Korsett um die politischen Beamten an den Spitzen der Ministerien locker sitzt, ist das Einschleusen von (partei-)politisch rekrutiertem Personal in den ministerialen Beamtenapparat auf unteren Ebenen viel bedenklicher, spielt er sich doch unter dem Radar des medialen Interesses ab. Continue reading >>
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Europe and the Global Race to Regulate AI

The EU wants to set the global rule book for AI. This blog explains the complex “risk hierarchy” that pervades the proposed AI Act, currently in the final stages of trilogue negotiation. This contrasts with the US focus on “national security risks”. We point out shortcomings of the EU approach requiring comprehensive risk assessments (ex ante), at the level of technology development. Using economic analysis, we distinguish exogenous and endogenous sources of potential AI harm arising from input data. We are sceptical that legislators can anticipate the future of a general purpose technology, such as AI. We propose that from the perspective of encouraging ongoing innovation, (ex post) liability rules can provide the right incentives to improve data quality and AI safety. Continue reading >>