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.

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