Show Less
Restricted access

Law, Politics, and the Constitution

New Perspectives from Legal and Political Theory


Antonia Geisler, Michael Hein and Siri Hummel

The fourth Yearbook of the Central and Eastern European Forum of Young Legal, Political and Social Theorists reassesses central concepts of modern constitutionalism between the poles of law and politics: separation of powers, constitutional review, and constitutional rights and obligations. Fourteen legal scholars and political scientists from the region contribute to interrelated debates in both disciplines. Two questions are particularly raised: How can the aforementioned concepts be understood? And: Which role do they play in current national and supra-national institutions? With regard to the second question, an essential part of the chapters focuses on current developments within the European Union and in post-socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Constitutional Courts and Their Power of Interpretation


André Brodocz


Judicial power is a complex phenomenon. It is not the same as formal competence. Instead, judicial power only becomes apparent in decisions by supreme courts regarding the meaning of the constitution. In this sense, judicial power is defined more precisely as the power of interpretation. When analysing it, we must distinguish between three interdependent levels: the level of the interpreted constitution, the level of the interpreting court and the level of the interpretation. This is the only way to explain why the power of interpretation is not necessarily absolute and how each level is characterised by special preconditions and limitations.

Judicial Power constitutes a central challenge for constitutionalism (Geiger 1995, c. 1007). The judiciary practices its powers through a constitutional court as soon as its decisions bind the actions of other political institutions or actors. Still, it is known that constitutional courts themselves cannot forcefully obtain obedience. Worldwide, the decisions of constitutional courts are nonetheless adhered to in most cases. But why do governments and legislators adhere to them? And why do constitutional courts expect that political institutions will do it? The question is what motivates governments and legislators on the one hand and what motivates constitutional courts on the other hand? The answer is: power.

Political institutions follow the constitutional rulings when they have recognised the power of the judiciary. And constitutional courts demand obedience from political institutions when they can expect the recognition of their power. Power...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.