Europe

Poland's New Leaders Take Aim at Democracy

Europe should keep an eye on "reforms" to the country's constitutional court.

Worries all around.

Photographer: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Not every democracy needs a supreme court with the power to block legislation it deems unconstitutional. But Poland’s reforms of its Constitutional Tribunal, enacted by a right-wing majority and signed into law by a conservative president, are worrisome signs for the country's prospects of democratic government. The political timing -- and the nature of the changes -- provides a valuable guide to what judicial review is good for, and why so many countries have adopted it since World War II.

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