This editorial is shorter than you are used to, and that is because I am actually still on Easter holiday this week. Therefore, I will leave it at the service function and give you an overview of everything that took place on Verfassungsblog over the holidays.
We cannot take our eyes off the war in Ukraine. Gradually is it becoming clear what a fundamental paradigm shift this will be to the entire international legal order. „What we need is more knowledge for the development of a (international) law of ambiguity“, demands KARL-HEINZ LADEUR. „The Ukraine war is not an accident from which international law will emerge stronger. It is an alarm signal of the dominance of disorder, against which there will be no readily available remedy.“
Russia’s authoritarian transformation has again been in the spotlight of world public opinion for weeks. But what role does constitutional law play in this? WILLIAM PARTLETT shows that Putin’s position is no coincidence, but is closely linked to the structures of the Russian constitution.
The Polish Minister of Justice wants to take Russia to a Polish court for its attack on Ukraine and possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. WITOLD ZONTEK considers this step mainly symbolic, but no less significant. At the same time, the scale and specificity of the crimes in question is beyond the capacity of any single country and requires a comprehensive condemnation and the involvement of the international community.
Ireland is not a member of NATO and has been „neutral“ since independence. However, Irish neutrality is not a constitutional requirement but rather a political tradition. However, according to EOIN DALY, a break with this might encounter certain constitutional obstacles. In particular, a constitutional referendum would probably be required for NATO accession.
Council of Europe: Consultancy services needed for support to judicial reform in Serbia
The Council of Europe has launched a call for the provision of consultancy services in Serbia in the area of independence and accountability of the judiciary, internal organisation of the judiciary, judicial training and caselaw harmonisation.
The call for experts is launched under the framework of the Project “Support for the implementation of judicial reform in Serbia”, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, implemented for a period of three years (2022-2024).
Should Germany find it itself to decide an energy embargo against Russia, a whole regulatory framework would be in place for that. MIRIAM VOLLMER has examined this framework and shows: In fact, the entire energy law could be suspended – and considerable parts of the civil law as well.
In France, the second round of the presidential election on Sunday will decide about the central position of the constitutional system of the V. Republic of 1958. But the future of this very system is open. After the parliamentary election, which will follow the presidential election in June, the need for reform of the electoral and political system could become undeniable, say AURORE GAILLET and CLAUS DIETER CLASSEN.
In the US, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas refuses to recuse himself from proceedings related to the 2020 election and its aftermath, despite his wife’s links to the 6 January 2021 coup attempt. Legally, things are indeed not that simple, explains BEN JOHNSON.
In Hungary, the National Election Commission has fined more than a dozen NGOs for illegal interference in the failed anti-LGBTQ referendum held on election day (3 April 2022). Their crime: having called for casting an invalid vote in the referendum. RENÁTA UITZ explains what to make of the Election Commission’s argument that this is an abuse of rights.
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been ousted by a vote of no confidence in parliament. ANDRAS CSONTOS looks at the crucial role played by the Pakistani Supreme Court.
European Law Open (ELO) delivers a dynamic, critical and contextual approach to European law in an Open Access format. The journal is open to different voices, different concerns, and different methodologies, offering a platform for rigorous analysis of both EU law itself and wider European law and governance in their political, cultural, social and economic contexts. With several article types and an OA waiver policy for unfunded authors, ELO is the bold new platform for the diverse voices of the EU law community. Read the first issue online now.
Elon Musk wants to take over Twitter, allegedly to protect free speech. JACOB VAN DE KERKHOF plays out what would happen if Musk’s „Free Speech Utopia“ became reality. Given the different constitutional requirements in the EU and the US, it would probably amount to a „two Twitter solution“: one Twitter of the Wild West and one tamed by EU law. According to GIOVANNI DE GREGORIO, PIETRO DUNN and ORESTE POLLICINO, the result could even be that a third model is added to these two: „The future of the Internet could be in the hands of private, powerful individuals, capable of influencing (or quashing) any constitutionalising attempts contrary to their own personal beliefs and ideas. In this sense, private individual ownership represents a third type of constitutionalising force of the Internet, building what may be referred to as the ‚rule of the shareholder‘.“
In Germany, the minimum wage will soon be raised to 12 euros per hour, one of Chancellor Scholz’s most important election campaign issues. However, the planned law raises some constitutional questions, which EVA KOCHER addresses.
The deprival of citizenship for terrorist offences is increasingly becoming an instrument of security policy in Europe. The Strasbourg Human Rights Court did not see any problem with Art. 8 ECHR in this. MARIA MARTHA GERDES and SAMUEL HARTWIG see this decision as a token of the general restraint by the Court with regard to state measures in the name of national security.
Chile and Turkey inherited their constitutions from military dictatorships, and in both states there are efforts to correct this. Chile, however, is several steps ahead in this process. The Turkish opposition should learn from Chile how to leave old paths for its attempt at constitutional reform, say MEHMET BOTAN KAYHAN and NATHÁLIA MARIEL.
Call for applications – re:constitution Fellowships
The rule of law is a prerequisite for the protection of democracy and fundamental rights in the European Union, but recurrent breaches of the rule of law are undermining the European legal order. re:constitution Fellows offer timely research and analysis to help shape rule of law protection. A new call for applications for re:constitution Fellowships is out now, deadline 10 May 2022.
re:constitution is a joint programme by Forum Transregionale Studien and Democracy Reporting International, funded by Stiftung Mercator.