Slowing or Stopping the Turn to Authoritarianism in Israel

The elections will not bring any change with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the religious conflict or the growing inequality. But they are important and even crucial for the future of Israel as they are most likely to slow and perhaps block the erosion of the protection of civil rights in Israel and the slow but continuous transition of Israel from a liberal democracy to an authoritarian one.

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The People Have Voted, Now Let the People Speak

The Brexit stalemate is unlikely to wither. In a smart spin, distracting from the unlawfulness of the Parliament shutdown, the blame for not delivering Brexit is now put on the Parliament. The Parliament and “the establishment” are pitted against the will of the people. Since the 2016 referendum, however, provided for no clear procedural or substantive mandate, no form of Brexit, including remain, can claim its legitimacy based on the “will of the people” unless there is a second referendum.

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When the Judiciary Undermines Judicial Independence

India’s Supreme Court has long sought to protect itself, mostly through an insulated appointment system, from political pressures. Judicial independence seems to be the catchphrase for the Indian Judiciary when it is under pressure or attack. But how far has the Court been successful in navigating and managing the problems caused by judicial hierarchies and politics within its very own walls?

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A Judicial Path to Nowhere?

On 25 September 2019, the Constitutional Court of Latvia opened a case on the constitutionality of several provisions regarding pre-school education for minorities. The complainants are not likely to succeed with their appeal, though, as the Constitutional Court has so far used the country’s Soviet history as well as Latvia’s cultural identity as arguments to uphold the restriction of minority rights.

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Dealing with a Rogue UK Prime Minister

In the current “Brexit” crisis, the EU should strive to achieve a smooth agreement-based process. This is the only way to ensure that the intricate web binding the UK to the EU is not ripped up without a reliable substitute. Boris Johnson’s priority to withdraw the UK on 31 October "do or die“ is next to impossible to reconcile with that aim. Domestically, it will be difficult to halt Johnson’s no-deal plan. But what about the EU? Indeed, there are several measures the EU could take to deal with a rogue UK Prime Minister and to make a smooth withdrawal more likely.

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The Rule of Law, not the Rule of Politics

On 24 September 2019, just two weeks after Parliament had been controversially prorogued by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the UK Supreme Court handed down a unanimous judgment holding that such prorogation was ‘unlawful, null, and of no effect’. Parliament was not and had never been prorogued. But this is not likely to be the end of such questioning of the fundamentals of the constitution and – in particular – the limits of executive power.

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Missbrauchte oder missverstandene Meinungsfreiheit?

Eine Kanzlei aus dem Rhein-Main-Gebiet hat auf ihrer Internetpräsenz bekannt gegeben, Strafanzeige gegen „die Richter“ erstattet zu haben, „welche die Entscheidung zu verantworten haben, nach welcher die Politikerin Renate Künast Beschimpfungen, auch solche der übelsten, sexistischen Sorte, hinzunehmen hätte“. Es ist absehbar, dass die Strafanzeige ihren Zweck verfehlen wird, wenn die Kanzlei damit ernstlich auf eine Bestrafung der Kammermitglieder hinwirken wollte.

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An Alternative to the Brexit Backstop: An All-Ireland “Common No-Custom Area” under Art. 24 GATT

In order to resolve the current stalemate in the brexit negotiations, we propose to establish a “Common No-Custom Area” in Ireland applicable only to products originating in either part of the island. This special regime conforms to the Frontier Traffic exception of Art. 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT/WTO) and builds on the “precedent” of Cyprus where a similar regime has been in place since 2004. This practical solution takes into account that a major part of intra-Ireland trade is made up of products originating in either part of the island.

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Is Brexit a Game?

Can Boris Johnson’s and Dominic Cumming’s Brexit strategy be made plausible by means of game theory? I think not. It seems too simple to present the current situation as a two-party game, with the UK (or Boris Johnson) on one side and the EU on the other. In reality, Johnson faces two opposite players—one being the EU, the other the hard Brexit opponents and the Supreme Court at home.

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