Charging Bullies

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear Friends of Verfassungsblog,

this was a relatively quiet week here on the blog, very much unlike the world at large: In London, there was a new terrorist attack, in Germany there is a new President, and in the US there is most likely going to be a new Supreme Court Justice soon, tenured for life: Neil Gorsuch is his name, 49 years his age, and his job will be to help the Republicans bring down the administrative state and to let corporate citizens enjoy their constitutional right to privatize profits and socialize risks without oppression by environmental bureaucrats and climate experts. Whether or not he will fulfill this expectation remains to be seen. This week, Gorsuch was grilled in the Senate, and next week I will interview Mattias Kumm, who, being a law professor in New York and Berlin, straddles both constitutional cultures and is therefore particularly qualified to explain such obscure matters as the "Chevron doctrine".

Not new, but more mind-boggling every day is what is going on with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish President could not know about the attack in London yet (I hope, at least) when he said in a speech in Ankara that "no European would be safe to walk on the street anywhere in the world any more". The head of the third-largest NATO member state issuing what sounds like a terrorist threat – who ever believed that Erdoğan’s nazi and gas chamber invectives towards Europe could not be topped in sheer insanity stood corrected.

The schoolyard bully strategy

Mental health diagnoses are, as with Trump, seldom a good way to explain politics. Everyone knows that the ratio behind Erdoğan’s attacks is the constitutional referendum on 16th April by which he seeks to transform his country into a dysfunctional presidential autocracy. Europe, he keeps telling his compatriots, wants a weak Turkey, so if you want Turkey to be strong, vote Yes ...

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