When Journalists Weaken Democracy or How to Better Communicate the Rule of Law

Discussing years of controversies between Polish lawyers and the ruling Law and Justice party, the law professor Marcin Matczak concluded: “We won the legal discussions, but we lost the public debate.” Despite manifest violations of the law, Poland’s ruling party did not lose votes in recent parliamentary elections. In Hungary the situation seems to have been even worse. The public debate was not lost, it hardly took place. That’s a problem.

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Threats to Brazilian Democracy Gain Traction

Democracy in Brazil is under attack and facing a significant level of backsliding. The developments in recent years, from Dilma Rousseff’s parliamentary coup to Jair Bolsonaro’s ascent to power, have shown that democracy erodes in an incremental process. Lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro has recently taken another step in that direction when he publicly suggested that a 1964-1985 dictatorship’s decree should be repeated in case the Brazilian left-wing movements took a more radical position. His statements are prohibited under Brazilian law and Brazil’s institutions need to hold Eduardo Bolsonaro accountable in order to put brakes on the country’s democratic decline.

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CVM Here, CVM There: The European Commission in Bulgaria’s Legal Wonderland

On 13 June 2019, Bulgaria’s Minister of Justice Danail Kirilov declared that he would resign unless the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to which Bulgaria was subjected was lifted before the end of the Juncker Commission’s term. This statement comes in the middle of a highly controversial reform proposed by Kirilov. The reform is one of the key arguments Bulgaria intends to use to persuade the European Commission that the CVM should be terminated this year.

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This is how Bulgarian Judicial Independence Ends…Not with a Bang but a Whimper

Bulgaria notoriously ranks at the bottom of all judicial independence and corruption indexes in the EU, even lagging far behind Member States such as Hungary and Poland. Under the guise of implementing EU recommendations and the case-law of the European of Human Rights, a reform proposal by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Justice is about to threaten Bulgaria’s judicial independence even further.

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Is Bulgaria’s Rule of Law about to Die under the European Commission’s Nose? The Country’s Highest-Ranking Judge Fears So

On 17 April 2019, the President of Bulgaria’s Supreme Court of Cassation Lozan Panov was the keynote speaker at a yearly event dedicated to court independence. In his speech, Panov painted a vivid, yet gruesome picture of Bulgaria’s rule of law which is about to die like an oblivious frog in a pan of hot water reaching tipping point. Sadly, EU institutions have been turning a blind eye to the troublesome developments in Bulgaria for far too long.

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Is This President Erdogan’s Last Term in Office? A Note on Constitutional Interpretive Possibilities

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as president in 2014. In 2018, he was elected to the same position for a second term. The Turkish Constitution, aside from one exceptional case, is clear in its command that no-one may serve as president for more than two terms. Is this, then, President Erdogan’s last term in office? The short answer is maybe.

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The Role of Citizen Emotions in Constitutional Backsliding – Mapping Out Frontiers of New Research

Liberal, constitutional democracy is decaying in Eastern Europe. Important liberal institutions and norms face threats even in stronger and more stable democracies in Western Europe, and perhaps especially in the United States. the assault on key liberal institutions by populist movements has been as successful as it has because those groups have been able to harness – and fuel – the anger and anxieties of citizens.

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Fight Fire with Fire – a Plea for EU Information Campaigns in Hungarian and Polish

In the current crisis of democracy in the EU, we should not put too much pressure on the judiciary to fix the rule of law and democracy. Neither should we put too much hope for positive developments on (European) party politics. Rather I suggest that the EU should start speaking directly to the electorate via EU information campaigns in Hungarian and Polish. The 2019 European Parliament elections might provide an adequate framework for such campaigns.

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How to Save a Constitutional Democracy: a Comment by DIETER GRIMM

Ginsburg and Huq analyze the processes of democratic backsliding and perverting democratic constitutionalism in various countries and ask whether an intelligent constitutional design would be able to prevent this from happening or make it at least more difficult. They do so not out of pure academic interest, but with the intention to protect liberal democratic constitutionalism because they believe it to be morally superior to alternative models.

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How to Save a Constitutional Democracy: a Comment by SUJIT CHOUDHRY

Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq’s "How to Save a Constitutional Democracy" is a terrific book. In this comment, I address three issues: the important moment the book marks on the value of the comparative method to the study of American constitutionalism; the insights offered by this method to the risk of democratic erosion in the United States and how those risks might be mitigated; and the need to give greater weight than Ginsburg and Huq do to the role of federalism to counter democratic erosion.

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