What if we become ‘political’? Constitutional Court and Parliament vis à vis the protection of fundamental rights

It is not unusual for the Italian Constitutional Court (ICC) to recognize fundamental rights Parliament failed to safeguard. A recent example is the 2019 judgment on assisted suicide. In the wake of a law regulating the right to a dignified death, the ICC was compelled to deliver a judgement limiting the application of the criminal provision punishing conducts that induce or help suicide, when those conducts are performed by doctors implementing the will of a seriously ill patient who would otherwise face unreversible and painful deterioration of physical conditions. The decision replaced legislation to avoid depriving citizens of important constitutional rights. It also exposed Parliament’s indecisiveness. Against this backdrop, the paper discusses the consequences of constitutional activism vis à vis parliamentary inaction by suggesting that such dynamic pushes the ICC to be more responsive to civil society.