Advertisement

Unamendability as a Judicial Discovery? Inductive Learning Lessons from Hungary

  • Fruzsina Gárdos-OroszEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 68)

Abstract

The chapter argues that, if we understand constitutionalism as a legal concept, the unamendability of certain constitutional norms becomes party independent of explicit constitutional declarations. The Hungarian case explains that unamendability can be justified as a judicial discovery even when the constitution does not adopt explicit rules on unamendability. Moreover, even if there is no explicit rule in the constitutional text or even if there is no explicit declaration of unamendability in constitutional court case law, legal interpretation methods help to argue that some sort of unamendability is a basic feature of constitutionalism awaiting its legitimate judicial discovery. In analysing the Hungarian example, while bearing in mind the comparative and the theoretical context of the discussion, I arrive at the inductive conclusion that unamendability might belong to the nature of legal constitutionalism. Turning a rule of law democracy into an autocracy, e.g., by constitutional amendments is not a valid legal solution in most constitutional democracies regardless of whether their constitution contains eternity or other entrenchment clauses or not. This is so because, in a rule of law democracy, a living constitution is partly a judicial construction and, in applying a legal doctrine, one finds normative requirements applicable to fundamental constitutional changes. I argue that these requirements can validly be enforced by the guardians of the constitution.

References

  1. Ackerman B (1998) We the people, vol II. Transformations, BelknapGoogle Scholar
  2. Ackerman B (2001) We the people. Foundations 1. Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Albert R (2010a) Constitutional handcuffs. Boston college law school research paper no. 225, p 706Google Scholar
  4. Albert R (2010b) Nonconstitutional Amendments. Boston college law school research paper no. 187. 9Google Scholar
  5. Albert R (2013) The expressive function of constitutional amendment rules. McGill Law J 59:225–281Google Scholar
  6. Albert R (2015) Amending constitutional amendment rules. Int J Const Law 13:655Google Scholar
  7. Albert R (2016) Constitutional limits to european integration. Int J Const Law 14:297Google Scholar
  8. András L (2012) ‘Szükség van-e írott alkotmányra?’ (Do we need a written constitution?). In: András J, András K (eds) Alkotmányozás Magyarországon és máshol. Politika-tudományi és alkotmányjogi megközelítések. (Budapest MTA TK Politikatudományi Intézet—Új Mandátum Könyvkiadó) vol 18, pp 30–32Google Scholar
  9. András K (ed) (2015) Comparative perspectives on the fundamental freedom of expression Complex, p 13Google Scholar
  10. Antal A (2013) Politikai és jogi alkotmányozás Magyarországon: political and judicial constitution making in hungary, Politikatudományi Szemle 22:48–70Google Scholar
  11. Bánkuti M et al (2013, April) Amicus brief for the venice commission on the fourth amendment to the fundamental law of hungary. pp 61–64, available at: http://fundamentum.hu/sites/default/files/amicus_brief_on_the_fourth_amendment.pdf
  12. Bánkuti M, Halmai G, Kim Laine S (2012) From separation of powers to a government without checks. In: Tóth GA (ed) Constitution for a disunited nation. On Hungary’s 2011 fundamental law, CEU PressGoogle Scholar
  13. Beaud O (1994) La Puissance de l’Etat, PUF, p 455Google Scholar
  14. Bellamy R (2007) Political constitutionalism: a republican defence of the constitutionality of democracy. CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Bentham J (1843) The book of fallacies. In: Bowring J (ed) The works of Jeremy Bentham, vol II, The Fallacy of Irrevocable Laws, p 403Google Scholar
  16. Boulanger C (2006) Europeanisation through judicial activism: the hungarian constitutional court’s legitimacy and the return to Europe. In: Sadurski W, Czarnota A, Krygier M (eds) Spreading democracy and the rule of law? SpringerGoogle Scholar
  17. Bragyova A (ed) (2003) Holló András 60. Születésnapjára, Bíbor Kiadó, p 65Google Scholar
  18. Bragyova A, Gárdos-Orosz F (2016) Vannak-e megváltoztathatatlan normák az Alaptörvényben, Are There Unamendable Rights in the Fundamental Law? Állam- és Jogtudomány 57:35Google Scholar
  19. Brunner G (1992) Development of a constitutional judiciary in eastern Europe. Rev Central East Eur Law 6:535–553Google Scholar
  20. Chronowski N (2012) The new hungarian fundamental law in the light of the European union’s normative values numéro spéciale. RevueEst Europa 89(1):111Google Scholar
  21. Chronowski N (2015) The fundamental law within the network of multilevel European constitutionalism. In: Szente Z, Zsuzsanna F, Mandák F (eds) Challenges and pitfalls in the recent hungarian constitutional development, L’HarmattanGoogle Scholar
  22. Erdős C (2011) Az alkotmány stabilitásának aktuális kérdései. In: The stability of the constitution, vol 1, Diskurzus, p 54Google Scholar
  23. Drinóczi T (2015) Újra az alkotmányozó, az alkotmánymódosító hatalomról és az alkotmányellenes alkotmánymódosításról—az Alaptörvény alapján, The constituent power and the amending power revisited by the fundamental law. Jogtudományi Közlöny 70:361Google Scholar
  24. Fröhlich J, Csink L (2012) Topics of hungarian constitutionalism. TvCR 3:424Google Scholar
  25. Gárdos-Orosz F (2015) Judicial review of constitutional amendments: a theoretical approach. In: Burazin L, Gardašević Đ, Sardo A (eds) Law and state, classical paradigms and novel proposals, Peter LangGoogle Scholar
  26. Gárdos-Orosz F, Szente Z (eds) (2015) Alkotmányozás és alkotmányjogi változások Európában és Magyarorzágon, Constitution making and constitutional change in Europe and in hungary, Nemzeti Közszolgálati Egyetem Part IIIGoogle Scholar
  27. Granville A (1999) Working a democratic constitution, OUPGoogle Scholar
  28. Halmai G (2007) The transformation of hungarian constitutional law from 1985 to 2005. In: Jakab A, Takács P, Tatham AF (eds) The transformation of the hungarian legal order 1985–2005, Kluwer Law InternationalGoogle Scholar
  29. Halmai G (2012) Unconstitutional constitutional amendments? constitutional courts as guardians of the constitution? Constellations 182(19):200–202Google Scholar
  30. Halmai G (2015) Judicial review of constitutional amendments and new constitutions in comparative perspective. Wake Forest L Rev 50:951Google Scholar
  31. Hein M (2015) Eternity clauses: never say never. Katapult, 4 May 2015, http://katapult-magazin.de/en/artikel/article-katapult/fulltext/never-say-never/
  32. Jacobsohn GJ (2006) An unconstitutional constitution? a comparative perspective. Int J Con L 3(1):460Google Scholar
  33. Jakab A (2016) European constitutional language, CCUP, pp 92–99Google Scholar
  34. Jakab A, Sonnevend P (2013) Continuity with deficiencies: the new basic law of hungary. European Const Law Rev 9:102Google Scholar
  35. Jakab A, Szente Z (2009) Az Országgyűlés hatáskörei (Competences of the parliament). In: Jakab A (ed) Az Alkotmány kommentárja, Századvég, vol 118, p 563Google Scholar
  36. Kelsen H (1967) Pure theory of law. University of California Press, Max Knight tr, pp 35–50Google Scholar
  37. Kilényi G (1996) Az alaptörvény stabilitását szolgáló garanciák a külföldi alkotmányokban és nálunk, (Guarantees of the Stability of the Fundamental Law in Foreign Constitutions and in Hungary). Jogtudományi Közlöny 51:117Google Scholar
  38. Körösényi A (ed) (2015) A magyar politikai rendszer—negyedszázad után. OsirisGoogle Scholar
  39. Kukorelli I (2014) Magyarországot saját alkotmánya nélkül kormányozni nem lehet ˙(Hungary can not be governed without a constitution). Méry Ratio KiadóGoogle Scholar
  40. Küpper H (2004) Az alkotmánymódosítás alkotmánybírósági kontrollja Magyarországon és Németországban, Constitutional review of constitutional amendments in germany and hungary, Jogtudományi Közlöny, 59:273Google Scholar
  41. Küpper H (2013)\Ungarns neues Grundgesetz von 2011 und seine ÄnderungenGoogle Scholar
  42. Lóránt C, Johanna F (2013) A régiek óvatossága: Megjegyzések az Alaptörvény negyedik módosításának javaslata kapcsán, Wisdom of the elderly: thoughts concerning the fourth amendment to the fundamental law. Pázmány law working paper 1. 2013. http://d18wh0wf8v71m4.cloudfront.net/docs/wp/2013/2013-1-csl-fj.pdf
  43. Loughlin M (2014a) The concept of constituent power. European J Polit Theor 24:218, 222Google Scholar
  44. Loughlin M (2014b) The concept of constituent power. European J Polit Theor 13:218Google Scholar
  45. Marbury WL (1919) The limitations upon the amending power. Harvard Law Rev 33:225, 232Google Scholar
  46. Petrétei J (2009) Az alkotmányos demokrácia alapintézményei, Basic institutions of constitutional democracy, Dialóg-Campus, p 187Google Scholar
  47. Pokol B (2005) Aktivizmus és alkotmánybíróság (Activism and constitutional court). In: Kurtán S, Sándor P, Vass L (eds) Magyarország politikai évkönyve, DKMKKAGoogle Scholar
  48. Preuss O (2016) Eternity clause as a clever instrument. Lessons from the Czech case law. Acta Juridica Hungarica. Hungarian J Legal Stud 57:134Google Scholar
  49. Rawls J (1996) Political liberalism, 2nd edn. Columbia University Press, p 239Google Scholar
  50. Ross A (1929) Theorie der Rechtsquellen (F. Deuticke), p 309Google Scholar
  51. Roznai Y (2013) Unconstitutional constitutional amendments: the migration and success of a constitutional idea. Am J Comp Law 61:657Google Scholar
  52. Roznai Y (2014) Legisprudence limitations on constitutional amendments? Reflections on the czech constitutional court’s declaration of unconstitutional constitutional act. Vienna J Int Const Law 8:29Google Scholar
  53. Roznai Y (2016) Unconstitutional constitutional amendments: the limits of amendment powers, OUPGoogle Scholar
  54. Schmitt C (1928) Verfassungslehre, Duncker & Humblot, p 16Google Scholar
  55. Servai HM (1996) Constitutional law of India, 4th edn, vol 3. New Delhi, p 3109Google Scholar
  56. Sólyom L (2015a) The rise and decline of constitutional culture in hungary. In: von Bogdándy A, Sonnevend P (eds) Constitutional crisis in the European constitutional area, vol 5. HartGoogle Scholar
  57. Sólyom L (2015b) Das ungarische Verfassungsgericht. In: von Bogdándy A, Grabenwarter C, Huber PM (eds) Handbuch jus publicum Europaeum: verfassungsbarkeit in Europa: institutionen, vol VI, Beck, p 705Google Scholar
  58. Sólyom L (2014) Normahierarchia az alkotmányban. Hierarchy of Norms in the Constitution, vol 7, Közjogi Szemle, p 1Google Scholar
  59. Sonnevend P (2015) The role of international law in preserving constitutional values in Hungary—the case of the Hungarian Fundamental Law with International Law. In: Szente Z, Zsuzsanna F, Mandák F (eds) Challenges and pitfalls in the recent hungarian constitutional development. L’HarmattanGoogle Scholar
  60. Sonnevend P, Jakab A, Csink L (2015) The constitution as an instrument of everyday party politics: the basic law of Hungary. In: von Bogdándy A, Sonnevend P (eds) Constitutional crisis in the European constitutional area, Hart, pp 33–110Google Scholar
  61. Stumpf I (2014) Rule of law, division of powers, constitutionalism. Hungarian J Leg Stud Acta Juridica Hungarica 55:299Google Scholar
  62. Suber P (1990) The paradox of self-amendment: a study of law. Logic, Omnipotence and change, Peter LangGoogle Scholar
  63. Szente Z (2013) Az Alkotmánybíróság döntése a Magyarország Alaptörvényének Átmeneti rendelkezése alkotmányosságáról, Decision of the constitutional court on the constitutionality of the transitional provisions of the fundamental law of hungary. Jogesetek Magyarázata JEMA 4:11, 18Google Scholar
  64. Szente Z (2016) The political orientation of the members of the hungarian constitutional court between 2010 and 2014. Const Stud 1:123Google Scholar
  65. Takács P (2011) Az alkotmány legitimitása, Legitimacy of the constitution. Alkotmánybírósági Szemle 2:58, 64Google Scholar
  66. Tóth GA (2009) Túl a szövegen: értekezés a Magyar alkotmányról (Beyond the text: a study on the Hungarian constitution), Osiris, pp197–200Google Scholar
  67. Tóth GA (2015) Hungary’s constitutional transformation from a central-european comparative perspective. In: Glaser H (ed) Norms, interests, and values: conflict and consent in the constitutional basic order. Nomos, Baden-Baden, pp 129–158Google Scholar
  68. Troper M (2003) The logic of justification of judicial review. Int J Const Law 99–103Google Scholar
  69. Vincze A (2015) Wrestling with constitutionalism: the supermajority and the hungarian constitutional court. ICL J 86(4):979Google Scholar
  70. von Wright Georg H (1963) Norm and action. Routledge & Kegan Paul 116 ff., 189 ffGoogle Scholar
  71. Vörös I (2014) The constitutional landscape after the fourth and fifth amendments of the hungarian fundamental law. Hung J Legal Stud Acta Juridica Hungarica 56(1)Google Scholar
  72. Vörös I (2015) Hungary’s constitutional evolution during the last 25 years: Südosteuropa. J Politics Soc 63:173Google Scholar
  73. Yepes RU (2007) Judicialization of politics in Colombia: cases, merits and risks. Int J Human Rights 49:51–54Google Scholar
  74. Zeller J (2013) Nicht so beständig… Die jüngsten Novellen des Grundgesetzes Ungarns im Kontext der Entscheidungen des Vergfassungsgerichts. Osteuropa Recht 3:307Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Center for Social SciencesInstitute of Legal StudiesBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations