Judicial Polexit? The captured Constitutional Tribunal and the EU law

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal was certainly not as europhile as the Belgian Constitutional Court or the Austrian Federal Constitutional Tribunal, but its jurisprudence in EU-related matters could not have been called Eurosceptic until 2015. The Constitutional Tribunal has repeatedly highlighted the primacy of the Polish Constitution, but in practice it has always adjudicated in such a way as to ensure the effective application of EU law within the Polish legal order. This has changed with the shifts that have occurred in the Constitutional Tribunal since 2015. The recent rulings of the captured Constitutional Tribunal  (the judgment of 20 April 2020 and the decision of 21 April 2020) are not only a breakthrough in the existing jurisprudence on purely domestic issues, but also an evident shift towards the Eurosceptic trait of illiberalism and a blatant attempt to challenge the CJEU case-law. Apart from the issues related to the formal shortcomings of these decisions (i.a. with the participation of so-called ‘stand-in judges’), the content of the analysed judgments proves that the Constitutional Tribunal has been transformed into a body used in fierce political games, not only at the national level, but also related to Poland’s membership in the EU.