Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, the European

Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde’s work has received extensive scholarly attention beyond Germany in recent years, with incisive discussions of his legal and constitutional theory, his theorization of the relation between politics, law and religion, and his intellectual mentors. But amid Brexit and the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, it is worthwhile returning to some of the finest moments of Böckenförde the public intellectual.

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‘Our Precious Union’: The Backstop and the Constitutional Integrity of the UK

The decision of the Prime Minister Theresa May to stand down if the Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement has led a number of passionate proponents of Brexit including Boris Johnson to change their view of the deal. Still, the Democratic Unionist Party said on Wednesday that the Brexit deal and in particular the backstop posed ‘an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.’ This is significant not only because the DUP is in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Government but also because a number of ardent Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have said that their stance towards the deal depends on DUP’s position. In light of another meaningful vote, one has to wonder whether the DUP’s fears concerning the threat of the backstop to the constitutional integrity of the UK are justified.

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Protecting the EU from a Kill Switch: Why EU Law Does Not Require EP Elections in the UK

According to the EU, postponing Brexit beyond May 23 legally requires UK elections for the European Parliament. If no elections are held, the argument goes, the new European Parliament would not be legally constituted. Yet, on closer inspection, this conclusion is not as legally convincing as it appears.

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The Bercow Bombshell: Political Constitutionalism in Action

In this post, I defend the constitutional logic of Speaker’s intervention. In a constitutional system such as the UK, which largely depends on political institutions and norms to check the executive, it is entirely appropriate – indeed, desirable – that the Speaker identify, interpret and enforce such norms to defend the institutional interests of the House of Commons and basic values of parliamentary democracy.

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Wege aus dem Brexit-Chaos: Weshalb die EU die Initiative ergreifen sollte

Das Vereinigte Königreich hat sich seit der Entscheidung für den Brexit im Juni 2016 nicht gerade als Musterbeispiel für gutes Regieren präsentiert. Dennoch: Die EU sollte dem Vereinigten Königreich noch einmal entgegenkommen und ein Angebot machen, das eine Mehrheit für den Ausstiegsvertrag im britischen Unterhaus doch noch ermöglicht. Jetzt ist politische Führung gefragt.

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The House of Commons’ Last Chance at Taking Back Control?

On Wednesday 27 February, MPs will have another opportunity to debate an amendable motion on the Government’s approach to Brexit. The debate on Wednesday is likely to focus on the plan put forward by Yvette Cooper MP (Labour) and Oliver Letwin MP (Conservative). They want MPs to have a legally binding say on whether the Prime Minister seeks an extension to Article 50’s two-year negotiating period. The opportunity to approve or reject the Cooper-Letwin on Wednesday represents the most important Brexit decision that the Commons has taken since the deal was rejected on 15 January.

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