The Crucifix Rage: Supranational Constitutionalism Bumps Against the Counter-Majoritarian Difficulty
European Constitutional Law Review, Vol. 6, pp. 6-27, 2010
22 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2010 Last revised: 22 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 12, 2010
On November 3rd 2009, in Lautsi v. Italy, the European Court of Human Rights held that the mandatory display of the crucifix in Italian public school classrooms restricts the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions, and the right of children to believe or not to believe. This essay situates the crucifix case in the frame of Italian legal, political and cultural, context, with reference to similar cases decided in other Western jurisdictions. It then highlights the novelty of the Lautsi case and emphasizes its potentially positive implications in strengthening the counter-majoritarian role of the ECtHR, while at the same time remaining mindful of its possible negative consequences. If, as it seems likely, the Italian institutions and the Italian people will resist the European judgment, this could in fact set the premises for a weakening of the judicial authority of Court.
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