A National Emergency on the Border?

Declarations of emergency are in bad odor in modern constitutional democracies. the U.S. Constitution makes no provision for emergency declarations. And while the Constitution’s guidance is cryptic at best on many separation-of-powers issues, it couldn’t be clearer that Congress—not the President—has the power to appropriate funds. So: can he really do that? The better argument is that he cannot, but it’s not so open-and-shut a matter as you might suppose.

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Save the Constitution!

India’s oppositional Congress party wants to impeach Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India, who stands accused of allocating cases to the respective benches at his own, politically right-leaning whim. In its fight against the governing BJP party, the Congress party has launched a "Save the Constitution!" campaign. Unfortunately, its leader Rahul Ghandi’s family has a history of entanglement with the constitution of its own.

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Why Do We Need International Legal Standards for Constitutional Referendums?

Important substantive and institutional guarantees ensure the democratic quality of the general elections. In the case of a referendum these substantive and procedural guarantees are almost completely missing. Only international soft law deals with the question of the democratic quality of the referendum. Recent experience with Turkey, Hungary and other places show that this needs to change.

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How dangerous is Emmanuel Macron – really?

To what extent does Emmanuel Macron represent a risk for civil liberties in France? Against this background of looming one-party hegemony and executive overreach, especially in security matters, the Conseil constitutionnel, the French Constitutional Council, found it wise to remind the government of the limits of its police powers.

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New Constitutional Amendment Proposal in Turkey: A Threat to Pluralistic Democracy!

Turkey will hold a referendum on a fundamental constitutional reform, probably in April. The designed political regime is neither parliamentarism nor presidentialism. Although the government calls the new political regime as a “Turkish type of presidentialism” with a populist discourse; in reality, the new regime will bring a kind of “delegative democracy”, which is seen usually in the South American, sub-Saharan African and in central Asian countries.

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The Turkish Constitutional Court under the Amended Turkish Constitution

In March 2016, the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) ruled that the rights of the Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül had been violated, leading to their release from prison after three months. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded by criticizing the TCC sharply, questioning its existence and legitimacy. This had not been the first time over the last years, that the Court had been attacked. The constitutional amendments, that will be put to referendum in April 2017, seemed to be a golden opportunity to change the composition and cut back the broad competences of the TCC. Did the AKP-led Parliamentary Constitutional Committee seize this opportunity?

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Between the Scylla of Terrorism and the Charybdis of the Police State: on the new French Anti-Terrorist Legislation

One month ago, France has enacted a new anti-terror law to end the state of emergency that had been in place since the terror attacks of Nov 15 2015. The basic purpose of the law is quite clearly to empower the executive (police and prosecution services) with investigative tools formerly reserved to the judiciary. Whether such a transfer of powers is justified or not, the fact is that the “country of human rights” actually now has today the most authoritarian anti-terrorist legislation in the European Union.

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