How It’s All Come Undone? Legitimacy of Polish Constitutional Tribunal and 2016 Constitutional Crisis

Polish Constitutional Tribunal (CT) legitimacy is examined in context of constitutional crisis of 2015-16 that ended up with it’s hollowing-out. The unique dataset composed of the individual data collected during three waves of representative, nationwide surveys (2004, 2007 and 2016) had been complied, and answers aggregated using PCA to form legitimacy scales. On top of that, questions related directly to the 2016 crisis had been examined to gauge how CT legitimacy affected crisis perception. It turns out that (i) as political polarization grows, individual characteristics became less and less relevant as partisanship crowds out nuances (ii) charismatic leader can effectively erode CT legitimacy among his followers (iii) link between CT legitimacy and the attitudes towards the crisis is significant, but far from perfect. Such ambiguity can explain why people sincerely holding specific values are nevertheless keen to turn blind eye on their fellow partisans, threatening those values.