Frankenstein’s Court

Due to Brexit, the remaining 27 EU Member States would like to remove Eleanor Sharpston, an Advocate General nominated by the United Kingdom, from the CJEU. Many have criticized this idea, claiming that a removal would undermine the judicial independence of the Court. This post argues that the position taken by the EU 27 to remove Eleanor Sharpston from the Court is actually well-reasoned and lawful while leaving her in office would lead to strange consequences e.g. that the Judges of the Court are less protected than its Advocate Generals.

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Ultra vires and constitutional identity control – apples and oranges or two drops of water?

The PSPP decision raised the question of how to deal with competence and jurisdictional conflicts in the EU. Once suggestion is to install a Mixed Appeal Chamber of the CJEU. Apart from ultra vires control, the New Chamber could also engage in constitutional identity review of EU law. In order to do that I will propose, what I call, the “sequential” model of adjudication on Art. 4(2) TEU, which in my opinion can be applied in the current legal setting, but which could be potentially complemented with the establishment of the new chamber.

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Verfassungsrecht ist zumutbar – auch den Familiengerichten

Mit dem gender pension gap setzen sich der bekannte gender pay gap und die ungleiche Verteilung von Erwerbs- und Familienarbeit für Frauen bis an ihr Lebensende fort: Frauen erhalten signifikant weniger Altersversorgung als Männer. Für geschiedene Frauen kann sich in diesem Zusammenhang ein spezifisches Problem ergeben, denn der Versorgungsausgleich wird oft stark zu ihren ungunsten durchgeführt. Damit beschäftigte sich jüngst auch das BVerfG – und räumte mit einer ständigen Rechtsprechung des BGH auf.

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Globale Gefahren und nationale Pflichten

Das Bundesverfassungsgericht hat in seinem BND-Urteil die extraterritoriale Geltung der Grundrechte festgeschrieben. Zwar geht es in der Entscheidung nur um die Abwehrdimension der Grundrechte – doch sie enthält dennoch auch Ansätze dazu, ob auch die Schutzdimension der Grundrechte extraterritorial gilt. Das betrifft auch grundrechtliche Schutzpflichten gegenüber Menschen in transnationalen Wertschöpfungsketten deutscher Unternehmen. Insofern könnte das Urteil der aktuellen Debatte um ein sogenanntes „Lieferkettengesetz“ einen neuen Impuls geben.

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Rights reaching beyond Borders

The German Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling on the BND establishes that the German fundamental rights guarantee protections against the interference of a German state authority like the BND also for non-German nationals in non-German territory. The court, however, leaves the question unaddressed of whether the extra-territorial applicability of the German fundamental rights extends to other scenarios as well, and especially to the other dimensions of the German fundamental rights.

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The Schrödinger’s Advocate General

We know Brexit means Brexit but should it also mean violating EU Primary Law? Eleanor Sharpston QC, one of the Advocates General of the European Court of Justice, launched an unprecedented legal action “against the EU and her own judicial colleagues after attempts were made to sack her”: The national governments of 27 EU Member States decided to terminate her appointment early. Why? Because Brexit ought to mean Brexit or so it seems.

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Unquestioned supremacy still begs the question

Earlier this week, 32 leading scholars of EU law and politics signed the statement that national courts cannot override CJEU judgments, in response to a demonstration by the BVerfG that it actually can. We share the signatories’ concern that Weiss might (and most probably will) be used as a pretext for refusing to comply with the CJEU’s rulings and the EU rule of law requirements in Member States such as Poland or Hungary. We are also critical of the conclusion to which the BVerfG arrived in its decision, though we accept some of its premises (i.e., that the national disapplication of EU acts may be justified in some rare and exceptional cases). However, even though we are not all constitutional pluralists, we take issue with some aspects of the reasoning behind the original statement and question the doctrinal and empirical arguments it invokes in favour of EU law’s unconditional supremacy.

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Squaring the PSPP Circle

The PSPP judgment made a core problem of the European Union painfully visible as the supremacy of EU law clashed with national constitutional identity. There is, however, a possibility to square this circle: national apex courts could be empowered to issue ‘declarations of incompatibility’ under Article 4(2) TEU as an alternative to the disapplication of EU law.

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