Michele Massa

Discretion, Sustainability, Responsibility in the Constitutional Case Law on Social Rights

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Social Rights; Cost of Rights; Public Finance; Balanced-Budget Principle; Italian Constitutional Court; Political Discretion.

A survey of recent rulings by the Italian Constitutional Court on social rights, particularly regarding their coexistence with budget constraints, allows to formulate three general remarks: this case law is still centered around the notion of legislative discretion; consequently, not even in a difficult time of crisis has the Court adopted a rigid doctrine of financial rigor, nor have social rights ever been fully subordinated to budgetary discipline, as some feared; nevertheless, it is possible to detect the symptoms of a more intense and realistic attention of the Court for the economic dimension of policy choices, as well as their judicial review, whose outcome has been occasionally very critical towards ill-pondered austerity measures. The Court's case law emphasizes both political discretion and responsibility in ensuring that social rights are both effective and sustainable.

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