From Parliament to Courtroom: Judicial Review of Legislation as a Political Tool in the Czech Republic
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|East European Politics and Societies
|MU Faculty or unit
|Czech Constitutional Court; parliamentary opposition; judicial review of legislation; transitional justice
|The Czech Constitutional Court has gained a strong position within the political system. This article examines the judicial review of legislation from the point of view of the relation between the court and the parliament. The authors analyze trends in the use of petitions proposing the annulment of statutes, who makes use of the petitions, how successful the petitioners are, and what issues the petitions concern. The article pairs a quantitative view with a qualitative analysis of key selected decisions by the court, especially in the sphere of mega-politics. The authors test whether judicial review of legislation serves as a tool for parliamentary opposition. The results show the decisive effects of a legislative majority in the lower house of the parliament. If the government lacks a majority, the use of judicial review of legislation as an oppositional tool fades. Also important is the weakness of the upper house, which makes senators more likely to resort to using judicial review of legislation. An especially crucial factor is the presence of independent and semi-independent senators who, without broader political backing, see judicial review of legislation as a welcome tool. The most frequent topics of the petitions were transitional justice, social policy, and the legislative process.