The Constitutionalized State of Emergency

The late Giovanni Sartori once said that we lacked a general theory of dictatorship. It is very likely that we are also short of a theory of emergency. As the current pandemic has come to show us, not only we still have difficulties to include emergency into our conception of constitutional law; we seem to differ on what emergency means and necessitates and on what should be its place in the functioning of the democratic State.

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Between Legislative Defiance and Legal Security

In Portugal, a recent decision of the Constitutional Court rejected another legislative attempt to implement a successful system of surrogacy. For the first time in its 26-year history, the Court faced legislative defiance of its previous case law, but asserted its role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution with arguments of “legal security” which provided the formal ground to escape the conflict between branches.

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Combatting TINA-Rhetoric through Judicial Review: Dealing with Pay Cuts in Times of Financial Consolidation

Recently, the German Federal Constitutional Court has decided that certain cuts on wages for civil servants in the Land Baden-Württemberg are unconstitutional. The judgment establishes a constitutional answer to the so-called “there is no alternative” (TINA) rhetoric that has largely dominated the political discourse on budgetary consolidation in the past. From this perspective, this line of jurisprudence allows for opening up a political and constitutional discourse that has become somewhat colonized by purely economic and financial considerations.

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(Not) Striking Down Surrogate Motherhood in Portugal

Last Tuesday, the Portuguese Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional several provisions of the regime on surrogacy, as well as the prohibition to disclose the identity of gamete donors and surrogate mothers. The most striking aspect of this decision, however, is not what the PCC ruled unconstitutional but rather what it expressly accepted as being constitutionally valid. The clear messages sent by the PCC to the legislature show a careful self-repositioning of the Court in its role as a constitutional interpreter in a democracy.

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Portugal auf dem Weg in die Verfassungskrise?

Portugals Präsident Cavaco Silva verweigert der linken Mehrheit im Parlament den Auftrag zur Regierungsbildung. Ist das ein Verfassungsbruch? Wohl nicht, wenngleich die vermutliche Strategie dahinter verfassungspolitisch zu größter Sorge Anlass gibt.

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