Who will go to Court? Why the upcoming vote matters

The wrong people sitting in the Constitutional Court may dismantle rule of law step by step.

(Source: TASR)

Women in Slovakia will still be allowed to get an abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy, news headlines read at the end of 2007.

Back then the Constitutional Court ruled in one of its most-followed cases so far. On December 4, 2007, the court said that performing abortions at a woman’s request in the first trimester of pregnancy was not unconstitutional. The motion for the Constitutional Court to examine the constitutionality of Slovakia's abortion legislation was submitted by 31 MPs in 2001.

Abortion law was one of many important decisions that the Constitutional Court delivered in its history. The Constitutional Court decides on complaints by natural persons, invalidates laws, questions election results, says how the Parliament and President should behave, interprets the Constitution and approves the constitutionality of referendum questions.

“Political pressure on the Constitutional Court judges is more than probable,” Marek Domin, associate professor of the Comenius University's Department of Constitutional Law, told The Slovak Spectator.

Under political pressure

The Constitutional Court can be called a “political” court in Slovak conditions: judges are appointed to their posts in a political process and their decisions influence politics, Domin explained.

“The Constitutional Court is often an arena where the struggle between the coalition and the opposition continues,” Domin said. It is common practice that MPs who are not satisfied with a law that the parliament passes files a motion against it in the Constitutional Court with the argument that it is in contradiction with the Constitution or international agreements.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

How a Catholic charity became a voice for migrants in Slovakia

Religious organisations have added leverage in changing perceptions of foreigners and migrants, says Caritas Slovakia.

Caritas Slovakia's ‘World Without “the Other” – Migration Myths’ campaign educates Slovaks on migration in a fun and artistic way.

Secret votes and public lies

There are uncanny echoes today of Slovakia’s agonies over its choice of chief prosecutor ten years ago.

Dobroslav Trnka (left) and Jozef Čentéš (right), the candidate who was eventually selected by MPs in 2011, never got to take up the post because the then president, Ivan Gašparovič refused to appoint him for reasons that were never clearly explained.

Which are the largest law firms in Slovakia?

For the first time, the ranking also provides an overview in partial categories of law.