Determining What is ‘Thai’: Thailand’s Constitutional Court and Identity Polarisation

The attempt to establish the Constitutional Court (since 1997) to consolidate the culture of liberal constitutionalism cannot avoid struggling with the entrenched national ideology, Thai-ness. This local notion of national identity determines what constitutes ‘genuine Thais’, that is, ideologies and people loyal to the predominantly Buddhist nation embodied by the righteous monarch.
Here, I aim to examine the Constitutional Court's roles in this regard. The judgments affirming the validity of coups in 2006 and 2014 as well as that annulling a constitutional amendment Bill seeking to establish the fully-elected Senate in 2013 will be assessed. These judgments, I argue, indicate that the Court gives a greater weight to the traditional notion of national identity, in particular, by asserting criteria constituting limitations to liberal-democratic ideas. The ultimate outcome of this is the greater polarisation within Thai society and the decline in popularity of the Court itself.

Constitutional Convergence in East Asia

With the advent of globalization and the ubiquity of modern technology, the world has become highly-networked, increasingly inter-dependent, and a seamless transnational flow of commodities and capital is gradually erasing national boundaries. Constitutional ideas are not immune from this globalizing force. Courts can converge on both outcomes and judicial methodology. As we will argue in this book, both forms of constitutional convergence are indeed occurring in Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Convergence, of course, does not mean complete coincidence or uniformity. But it is striking that within Asia, these three jurisdictions have the most liberal courts that have in recent years ruled in favor of progressive causes. What is equally significant, in our view, is not just the convergence on constitutional outcomes, but also how the courts of final resort in all three jurisdictions have achieved ‘methodological convergence’.

A third way in the trial of political party dissolution of the Constitutional Courts?: A comparative study on Turkey, Germany and South Korea

In June 2017, Germany’s lower house of parliament (Bundestag) voted overwhelmingly to amend the Basic Law of 1949. This recent amendment empowers the state to deprive anti-democratic political parties of federal funding. And the final-say lies in its Federal Constitutional Court. This is not the only example in the world. In Turkey, a similar mechanism has been already prescribed in its Constitution since 2001. Under this background, this article explores the following: (1) In countries (for ex. S. Korea) where only the Constitutional Court’s power of dissolving of political parties is expressly stipulated in the text of the Constitution, is it possible and necessary to introduce such a mechanism, as an proportionate and effective tool? (2) Is it possible to interpret the current Constitution in that way (to allow cutting of state funding from anti-democratic political parties) without its amendment, under the pressure of a polarized political situation?

A COURT BETWEEN TWO CONTINENTS: TRANSFORMATION OF CONSTITUTONAL COURT IN TURKEY TOWARDS ASIA

Between Books in Turkey used to call the country as a “bridge” between Europe and Asia due to its geological position. In practice, Turkey has been subject to examinations mostly within East or South European studies with regard to constitutional analysis. This paper will question this preference in light of recent developments in Turkish constitutionalism. More particularly, the paper will focus on the transformation of the Turkish Constitutional Court both functionally and institutionally. The Court has recently become more engaged with its Asian counterparts. In order to illustrate this trend, this paper will explain the recent attempt of the Constitutional Court to establish a “research center” on constitutional adjudication. This special body established in the Constitutional Court demonstrates that the Court has tried to become something more than a court. This trend was already available in Asian constitutional courts (particularly in South Korea and Indonesia) though.