Think Twice before Speaking of Constitutional Review in Turkey

German journalist Deniz Yücel has been freed from the Turkish prison he was held captive for a year. That the partial undoing of an unjust judicial decision had nothing to do with human rights, and everything to do with “diplomacy” – as Gabriel admitted – became all the more evident a few hours later. While one court in Istanbul released Yücel, another sentenced seven Turkish journalists to aggravated life in prison on charges of involvement in the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. In addition to being the first conviction of journalists in relation to the putsch attempt, the ruling is also remarkable due to its implications for Turkey’s constitutional regime.

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Reviewing the Holocaust Bill: The Polish President and the Constitutional Tribunal

President Duda decided to sign off the controversial law allowing to punish those who publicly accuse the Polish nation and the Polish state of taking part in the Holocaust and in any war crimes. The law will now come into force – a circumstance which is unlikely to calm the international discussion it has generated. Having decided to sign the law, the President announced that he will file a motion to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal to check its constitutionality. If the president is aware that the law may be unconstitutional and has at his disposal legal tools to check it yet allows it to come into force, he can be accused of constitutional recklessness.

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Populism and the Turkish Constitutional Court: the Game Broker, the Populist and the Popular

Populist strategies have for some time been an integral part of Turkish political life employed dominantly by the right wing political parties.1)For populism as a discursive strategy in Turkey see Zafer Toprak, “Populism ve Türkiye’deki Boyutları”, Tarih ve Demokrasi (Istanbul: Cem Yayınevi, 1992), pp. 41-62; Reşat Kasaba, “Populism and Democracy in Turkey, 1946-1961”, Rules and […]

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Sententia non existens – the future of jurisprudence of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal?

One of the latest topics in the debate on the future of constitutional control in Poland concerns the possibility and the need of common court judges to directly apply the Constitution. This possibility has already existed in theory – according to the Article 8 para 2 of the Constitution of Poland, the provisions of the Constitution shall apply directly, unless the Constitution provides otherwise. However, in practice, until now in case when the conformity of the normative act with the Constitution was questioned in particular case, the court has always referred the question of law the Constitutional Tribunal. The need to come back to the discussion on direct applicability of the Constitution stems from the questionable legality of some Constitutional Tribunal rulings in connection with the incorrect appointment of three so-called “quasi-judges” in December 2015.

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A Polish Marbury v. Madison?

Has the new President of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal been lawfully appointed? This question is at the core of the latest act of the ongoing judicial drama in Poland. The Warsaw Court of Appeals has now referred this question to the Polish Supreme Court. Civil courts are called upon to at least partially fill the gap left by the subjugated Constitutional Tribunal in safeguarding the rule of law in Poland.

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What is the Situation of Constitutional Jurisdiction in Europe? Worrying News from Spain

Although the situation in Poland is unique, the speed at which the Polish Constitutional Court has been subjugated should make the rest of us think about the regulations concerning our Constitutional jurisdictions and about the behaviour of other political actors with respect to them. Recent developments in Spain have led me to these reflections, and I would like to describe them briefly here to sound the alarm about what happens in other European countries more discretely than in Poland, but also very disturbingly.

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Constitutional Review as an Indispensable Element of the Rule of Law? Poland as the Divided State between Political and Legal Constitutionalism

The power of constitutional courts appears to be a political matter which depends on the political majority and public support notwithstanding their desirability in certain political contexts, in particular in countries with relatively young democratic traditions and authoritarian pasts. This might not be the best news for modern constitutionalism but one we need to be aware of, in particular in times of the recent re-rise of populist movements, illiberal disenchantment, and anti-establishment rhetoric – not only in Poland.

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The Hungarian Constitutional Court and Constitutional Identity

Ever since the 2010 parliamentary elections Hungary has set off on the journey to became an ‘illiberal’ member state of the EU, which does not comply with the shared values of rule of law and democracy, the ‘basic structure’ of Europe. The new government of Viktor Orbán from the very beginning has justified the non-compliance by referring to national sovereignty, and lately to the country’s constitutional identity guaranteed in Article 4 (2) TEU. This constitutional battle started with the invalid anti-migrant referendum, was followed by the failed constitutional amendment, and concluded in early December last year by a decision of the Constitutional Court, in which the packed body in a binding constitutional interpretation rubber-stamped the constitutional identity defense of the Orbán government.

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Living under the unconstitutional capture and hoping for the constitutional recapture

After the unconstitutional capture of the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland, ordinary courts will have to step in to provide constitutional review. Polish judges are faced with the most fundamental challenge since 1989. Are they ready to be constitutional judges in times of constitutional emergency?

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Statutory tinkering: on the Senate’s changes to the Law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

The infamous law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of July 7th has met with an outcry of criticism among constitutional scholars. Last week, the upper chamber of the Polish Parliament, the Senate, has introduced a number of changes to meet some of the concerns. On the whole the effort amounts to little more than statutory tinkering, though. The effect, the emasculation of constitutional control in Poland, remains unchanged.

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