Armin von Bogdandy, Davide Paris

Power Is Perfected in Weakness. A Comparison between the Italian Constitutional Court and the German Federal Constitutional Tribunal.

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Constitutional Courts; Judicial Authority; Judicial Dialogue; European Legal Space; Judicial Review.

This paper examines the foundation of the Italian Constitutional Court’s authority by comparing it with that of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Unlike the Bundesverfassungsgericht, the Corte costituzionale had to build its authority on a particularly weak legal basis. However, it succeeded in developing a dynamic of «power in weakness», which explains several of its most characterizing features: its exceptionally cooperative relationship with the ordinary courts, its terse style of reasoning, its low profile in the society, its activist interaction with the legislature, and its tactical dialogue with the Court of Justice of the EU. The idea of «power in weakness» also provides a key to understanding some recent developments in the Court’s jurisprudence and attitude.

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