The Congress of Vienna, Jean Godefroy

The Political Orientation of the Members of the Hungarian Constitutional Court Between 2010 and 2014

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Zoltán Szente

1.1 (2016)

Pages 123-149


The article explores the political orientation of the members of the Hungarian Constitutional Court between 2010 and 2014, when the government had a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and, thereby, was able to influence the composition and the operation of the Court. First, the study describes the basic features of the Court as it was established at the dawn of the transition to democracy in 1989/1990. Then it analyses the institutional changes shortly after the overwhelming election victory of the conservative right in 2010, specifying the measures which dismantled the guarantees of the organisational and political independence of the Court. In the third part, the author presents an empirical research about the political orientation of the judges. He shows that constitutional judges vote more or less consistently for their nominating (left-liberal or conservative) party. Zoltán Szente argues that the most plausible explanation for the extremely strong correlation between the voting behavior of the judges and the political standpoints of their nominating parties is the political orientation of the members of the Court: the judges support the political parties that nominated them, because they agree with policy or ideology of these parties.