The Constitutional Court as a Constitutional Zombie: Another Lesson from the Polish Crisis

It is sometimes argued that in order to prevent liberal democracy from decay, the role of the constitutional court may need to be strengthened so that it could successfully confront the populist government. But do we actually realize how much damage can be done when instead of defending the constitutional order the court becomes actively involved in supporting such a government?
The paper aims at providing a concise explanation of the changes which have occurred in the functioning of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal since 2016, when it was subject to a hostile takeover by the parliamentary majority. As evidenced by a number of cases, the Tribunal is now much more likely to follow the expectations of the political branch of government than to prevent democracy from further backsliding. This sudden transformation from the most important ally of the rule of law into one of its most powerful enemies makes the metaphor of a constitutional zombie disturbingly accurate.