With Exclusive Competence Comes Great Responsibility

The European Commission supports the Covid-19 crisis-fighting measures through generous exemptions to its EU state aid rules. Although in principle justified, this policy also gives companies in rich member states an immense advantage over their competitors in poorer member states. Until more effective burden-sharing on the EU level is forthcoming, the onus is on European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to ensure a fair distribution of state aid between the member states.

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It’s not about Bathroom Policies, it’s about Constitutional Principles

The United States Supreme Court is expected to soon deliver its judgment in the first transgender rights case before it. In the absence of federal laws protecting transgender persons from discrimination, the case revolves around the question whether the prohibition of discrimination ‘because of … sex’ transgender discrimination. The US Supreme Court appears to turn this into a question of political deliberation, bathroom policies and dress codes. The ECJ, on the other hand, instead of getting lost in policy discussions, has already in 1996 recognized the protection of transgender persons against discrimination based on the core constitutional principle of equality. The ECJ’s approach does in fact have a foothold under US case law and the US Supreme Court could seize the opportunity to bring transgender persons closer to enjoying the same rights as the general population.

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How to protect the Vulnerable?

In the Corona crisis, balancing between containment measures and the protection of fundamental rights becomes even more pressing with respect to vulnerable groups, especially in view of proposals aiming at restricting curfews to high-risk populations. Over-emphasizing their need for protection bears the risk of disregarding their rights and autonomy and one-sidedly imposing paternalistic measures in order to urge a solution and alleviate economic consequences.

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Citizenship by Religion

India is presently witnessing a country-wide mass uprising against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which purposefully aims to grant migrants belonging to six enlisted communities an easy path to Indian citizenship, while denying the same to others – notably Muslims. This Act is unconstitutional as it exploits deliberate omissions on citizenship rules in the constitution while it ignores the constitutional design which is fundamentally based on equality and secularism.

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A Judicial Path to Nowhere?

On 25 September 2019, the Constitutional Court of Latvia opened a case on the constitutionality of several provisions regarding pre-school education for minorities. The complainants are not likely to succeed with their appeal, though, as the Constitutional Court has so far used the country’s Soviet history as well as Latvia’s cultural identity as arguments to uphold the restriction of minority rights.

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FIFA for Women or Women for FIFA? The Inherent Tensions of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy

How does FIFA purport to address and overcome its historical and ongoing record of institutional disregard for, and discrimination against, women? Its primary weapon appears to be the recently adopted Women’s Football Strategy, designed to “empower the organisation to take further concrete steps to address the historic shortfalls in resources and representation, while advocating for a global stand against gender discrimination through playing football”. This may seem an ambitious compound goal, seeking to advance gender equality within FIFA, football and beyond. But what promise does the Women’s Football Strategy actually hold in this regard?

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Israel’s Nation-State Law – What Now for Equality, Self-Determination, and Social Solidarity?

The enactment of Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People on July 19th, 2018, triggered an intense public debate, not only in Israel. But what are the implications of this law? In particular, how is it likely to affect minorities, the right of Israel’s Arab-Palestinian minority to internal self-determination, and the possible development of all-encompassing social solidarity in Israel?

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The Retro Style in Liberal Politics: A Review of Mark Lilla’s ,The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics’

Columbia University’s Mark Lilla is an erudite and engaging historian of ideas, concentrating on political thought from the 18th century to the 20th.  In his latest book “The Once and Future Liberal”, Lilla attacks the current style of liberal politics, exemplified by professors, intellectuals and activists in social movements, as contemptuous of real-world electoral politics and of ordinary Americans.

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Marriage Equality and the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Time for Comparative Law

The enactment of marriage equality in Germany two weeks ago has sparked a constitutional debate that is taking place in Verfassungsblog like in many other media. There will probably be constitutional challenges to the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples in German law at the level of ordinary laws and without amendment of the German Basic Law, because many believe that a constitutional amendment would have been required. Hence, as it very often happens in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court will very likely have to decide on the question. However, in the international scene of constitutional jurisdictions it will not need to break any ice.

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