Between Legislative Defiance and Legal Security

In Portugal, a recent decision of the Constitutional Court rejected another legislative attempt to implement a successful system of surrogacy. For the first time in its 26-year history, the Court faced legislative defiance of its previous case law, but asserted its role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution with arguments of “legal security” which provided the formal ground to escape the conflict between branches.

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Crossing the Baltic Rubicon

Last week, a constitutional moment took place in the European Union. In a rather technical area of law, the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, the Court of Justice ruled for the first time in a case that ensued in the annulment of a decision of a Member State. The Court did not declare that a Member State had failed to fulfill its obligations under EU Law. What the Court did was much more ambitious.

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Gerrymandering and Judicial Review in Malaysia

On 28 March, the Malaysian Parliament passed new electoral maps. The re-delineated boundaries create an imbalance in constituencies, prompting allegations of mal-apportionment and gerrymandering. They remain largely unchallenged, not only through ouster clauses in particularized elections legislation, but also through the unwillingness of the judiciary to recognize the importance of the constitutional question relating to fair and equitable electoral management.

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The Spanish Constitutional Court on the Path of Self-Destruction

Recently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has published one more decision in application of the new reform of the Law on Constitutional Court which increased its powers for the execution of its own decisions. It is clear that Catalonian sovereignist politicians are acting irresponsibly and provoking the Spanish powers. The only good way to answer to this challenge is a balanced and neutral response of the Constitutional Court every time they adopt an illegal act. Instead, the Court assumed a political role. He tries to stop even any talk about independence. By doing so, it fails to respect its own role as keeper of a Constitutional framework where very diverse ideologies can be discussed.

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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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Catalonian Independentism, the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Perils of the Middle Way

The Spanish Law 15/2015 (Organic Law) was a key element of the last Government of Mariano Rajoy in his fight against Catalonian Independentism. It gives the Spanish Constitutional Court a new executive power to suspend temporally a democratic authority if it does not obey a Constitutional Court’s resolution. A recent decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court has validated the Bill on the idea that the Court must have special deference to the legislature whenever the judgment is on the statute that regulates the jurisdiction of Court. The Court solves the dispute without a deep discussion on the merits. Once again the Spanish Court leaves a feeling of intellectual fragility.

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“Emergency Constitutional Review”: thinking the unthinkable? A Letter from America

With the constitution and the rule of law in Poland under systemic attack and the Constitutional Court weakened by the refusal of the government to publish its decisions, ordinary judges should step in and, if need be, declare unconstitutional laws inapplicable by themselves. An example for this sort of emergency constitutional review has already been set by the Polish Supreme Court in a decision of March 17th.

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Zum Dilemma des Verfassungsgerichtszugangs kleiner Oppositionsparteien: Was sagen eigentlich die Zahlen?

Die Fraktion DIE LINKE im Deutschen Bundestag hat vor dem Bundesverfassungsgericht argumentiert, eine wirkungsvolle parlamentarische Opposition gegen die gegenwärtige Vierfünftelmehrheits-Koalition könne es nicht geben, weil ihr der Zugang zum Verfassungsgericht mittels der abstrakten Normenkontrolle verwehrt bleibt. Mag dieses Argument zwar öffentlichkeitswirksam und normativ diskussionswürdig sein, empirisch haltbar ist es jedenfalls nicht. Wer genauer hinschaut, sieht: eine wirkungsvolle Opposition aus dem Bundestag, die sich rein durch eine Antragsberechtigung für die abstrakte Normenkontrolle konstituiert, gibt es nicht.

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