CCR №1 (116) 2017
On the legitimacy of constitutional courts and the rule of law in a comparative view on the Polish constitutional crisis

Abstract. 
Constitutional Courts provided with the power of judicial review have become an important feature of modern constitutionalism prescribed to the principles of the rule of law, democracy and the recognition of human rights. The constitutional design does not however answer the question as to whether a monopoly over the constitutional review by constitutional courts is a mandatory component of the legal concept of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. In particular, the dispute concerning the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland shows the exposure of the institution of a constitutional court to the political. Being strongly criticised by the Venice Commission and the European Commission as serious threats to the rule of law, the political “attack” on the Constitutional Tribunal aiming at limiting the assumed “juristocracy”, reveals further the conflict between political and legal constitutionalism. Therefore, the question as to whether effective constitutional review by constitutional is indispensable for the rule of law becomes crucial for the understanding of modern constitutionalism. Noteworthy is, however, that even in the context of the German Basic Law, a constitutional framework that has created a very strong constitutional jurisdiction, a clear legal argumentation in favour of constitutional review as a tangible element of the rule of law, and therefore an indispensable element of constitutionality, is rather blurred. In fact, 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.

About the author
Anna Mrozek- Assistant Professor, University of Leipzig, Germany; Anna Śledzińska-Simon – Assistant Professor, University of Wroclaw, Poland.

Translation from English is made by Alexandra Troirskaya. 

Citation:
Mrozek A., Sledzinska-Simon A. (2017). Sravnitel’nyy vzglyad na pol’skiy konstitutsionnyy krizis: legitimnost’ konstitutsionnykh sudov i printsip verkhovenstva prava [On the legitimacy of constitutional courts and the rule of law in a comparative view on the Polish constitutional crisis]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.1, pp.64–79. (In Russian).

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