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Encyclopedia > Constitutional Council of France
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Politics, sometimes defined as the art and science of government. ... Image File history File links France_coa. ... // French politics under the Fifth Republic After Charles de Gaulle had the constitution of the French Fifth Republic adopted in 1958, France was ruled by successive right-wing administrations until 1981. ...

The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, which was introduced on October 5, 1958. ... It has been suggested that Human rights in France be merged into this article or section. ... The President of the French Republic (French: Président de la République française) colloquially referred to as President of France, is Frances elected Head of State and also the ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra and Grand Master of the Légion dhonneur. ... H.E. (help· info), (born November 29, 1932 in Paris) is a French politician who is currently President of the French Republic. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ... Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin (born 14 November 1953) simply known as Dominique de Villepin ( — (help· info), is a French diplomat and politician. ... This page is a list of French prime ministers. ... The Senate amphitheater in the Luxembourg Palace The Senate (in French :le Sénat) is the upper house of the Parliament of France. ... The Palais Bourbon, front The French National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale) is one of the two houses of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. ... The Cour de cassation is the main court of last resort in France. ... Political parties in France lists political parties in France. ... Charles de Gaulle, in his generals uniform Gaullism (from French Gaullisme) is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Charles de Gaulle. ... France is a representative democracy. ... // Second Round First Round General Summary On May 1, Labour Day, the yearly demonstrations for workers rights were compounded by protests against Jean-Marie Le Pen. ... The 2007 French presidential election will herald the first contest since Frances rejection of the European constitution in May 2005. ... These are the results of the French legislative election of 2002 Category: ... The French legislative election will take place in June 2007, a few weeks after the French presidential election. ... France is named The Country of the Human Rights. In the Constitution and in the laws, the Human Rights are respected. ... The European Union or EU is a supranational and intergovernmental union of 25 European states. ... Image File history File links European_flag. ... A charter member of the United Nations, France holds one of the permanent seats in the Security Council and is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies. ... In 1589, the four French Secretaries of State became specialized, with one of the secretaries responsible for foreign affairs. ... This is a list of major political scandals in France: 1816 shipwreck of and search for French frigate Medusa off the west coast of Africa Dreyfus Affair, 1894 treason conviction of Alfred Dreyfus - exposed by writer Emile Zola on January 13, 1898 The Ben Barka affair, 1965 disappearance of the...

A republican guard giving directions to visitors at the front entrance of the Constitutional Council
A republican guard giving directions to visitors at the front entrance of the Constitutional Council

The Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. It is the highest constitutional authority in France. Its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld. It considers conformity with the Constitution, and, since 1971, conformity with two texts referred to by the preamble of that constitution: the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen and the preamble of the constitution of the Fourth Republic, which are considered to be general principles of constitutional law. Image File history File links Conseil_constitutionnel_050918_172512. ... Image File history File links Conseil_constitutionnel_050918_172512. ... Two republican guards in ceremony uniform in front of a side entrance of the Élysée Palace The Republican Guard mans the honour guards welcoming foreign heads of state or government; here, president Jacques Chirac welcomes then king of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk to the Élysée Palace. ... The current Constitution of France was adopted on October 4, 1958, and has been amended 17 times, most recently on March 28, 2003. ... October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La Déclaration des droits de lHomme et du citoyen) is one of the fundamental documents of the... The Fourth Republic existed in France between 1946 and 1958. ...


The Council can only do so when issues are brought before it, it has no power to judge otherwise. Thus statute legislation can only be judged to be unconstitutional if it is brought before the Council before it is signed, after it is passed by Parliament: it is not possible to bring legislation to the Council afterward. However executive decisions and regulations can be quashed by the administrative courts and the Conseil d'État. Furthermore, courts, especially the Cour de Cassation, may refuse to follow decisions that they deem contrary to French Law or to treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights. Bold textJAMES CHECKLEY Legislation (or statutory law) is law which has been promulgated (or enacted) by a legislature or other governing body. ... In France, the Conseil dÉtat (English: Council of State and sometimes Counsel of State) is an organ of the French national government. ... The Cour de cassation is the main court of last resort in France. ... The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights, was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ...


The Council sits in the Palais Royal in Paris, near the Conseil d'État. Gardens of the Palais-Royal: The illustration, from an 1863 guide to Paris, enlarges the apparent scale. ... , The Eiffel Tower, the tallest structure in Paris, is an international symbol of the city. ... In France, the Conseil dÉtat (English: Council of State and sometimes Counsel of State) is an organ of the French national government. ...

Contents


Membership

The Council is made up of:

  • nine members who serve non-renewable terms of nine years, one third of whom are appointed every three years; one member each is appointed by the president of the Republic, the president of the National Assembly, and the president of the Senate;
  • former presidents of the Republic who have chosen to sit in the council (which they may not do if they become directly involved in politics).

The president of the Council is selected by the president of the Republic. The President of France, known officially as the President of the Republic (Président de la République in French), is Frances elected Head of State. ... The Palais Bourbon, front The French National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale) is one of the two houses of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. ... The Senate amphitheater in the Luxembourg Palace The Senate (in French :le Sénat) is the upper house of the Parliament of France. ...


As of 2005, the current members are: 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • Pierre Mazeaud, president of the Council, named as a member by the president of the Republic in February 1998, and thereafter named president of the Council by the president of the Republic on February 27, 2004;
  • Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, former president of the Republic;
  • Simone Veil, named by the president of the Senate in February 1998;
  • Jean-Claude Colliard, named by the president of the National Assembly in February 1998;
  • Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, named by the president of the Republic in March 2001;
  • Dominique Schnapper, named by the president of the Senate in March 2001;
  • Pierre Joxe, named by the president of the National Assembly in February 2001;
  • Pierre Steinmetz, named by the president of the Republic in February 2004;
  • Jacqueline de Guillenchmidt, named by the president of the Senate in February 2004;
  • Jean-Louis Pezant, named by the president of the National Assembly in February 2004.

The members of the Council, except for former presidents of the Republic, are sworn in by the president of the Republic. Pierre Mazeaud Pierre Mazeaud (born August 24, 1929 in Lyon) is a French jurist, politician and alpinist. ... February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... It has been designated the: International Year of Rice (by the United Nations) International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition (by UNESCO) 2004 World Health Day topic was Road Safety (by World Health Organization) Year of the Monkey (by the Chinese calendar) See the world in... This article needs to be updated. ... Simone Veil Simone Veil (born Simone Annie Jacob, July 13, 1927) is a French lawyer and politician who currently serves as a member of the Constitutional Council of France. ... Jean-Claude Colliard is a member of the Constitutional Council of France since 1998. ... I know this guy. ... Dominique Schnapper is a member of the Constitutional Council of France since 2001. ... Pierre Joxe is a member of the Constitutional Council of France since 2001. ... Pierre Steinmetz is a member of the Constitutional Council of France since 2004. ... Jacqueline de Guillenchmidt (b. ... Jean-Louis Pezant is a member of the Constitutional Council of France since 2004. ...


The members of the Council should abstain from partisanship. They should refrain from making declarations that could lead them to be suspected of partisanship. The possibility for former presidents to sit in the Council is a topic of moderate controversy; some see it as incompatible with the absence of partisanship. Look up Partisan (political) in Wiktionary, the free dictionary In politics, a partisan is a person who supports a cause, party, or goal fervently, usually to the exclusion of all others. ...


René Coty, Vincent Auriol and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing are the only former presidents to have sat in the Council. French statesman René Coty René-Jules-Gustave Coty (March 20, 1882 - November 22, 1962) was President of France from 1954 to 1959. ... French statesman Vincent Auriol Vincent Auriol (27 August 1884 - 1 January 1966) was a French politician who served as first President of the Fourth Republic from 1947 to 1954. ... This article needs to be updated. ...


Both the Council and the Conseil d'État tend to adopt similar approaches to law and constitutional rights.


Powers and tasks

The Council has two main areas of power:

  1. The first is the supervision of elections, both presidential and parliamentary and ensuring the legitimacy of referendums (Articles 58, 59 and 60). They issue the official results, they ensure proper conduct and fairness, and they see that spending limits are adhered to. The Council is the supreme authority in these matters. The Council can declare an election to be invalid if it was improperly conducted, or if the elected candidate used illegal methods, or if he spent for his campaign over the legal limits.
  2. The second area of Council power is the interpretation of the fundamental meanings of the constitution, procedure, legislation, and treaties. The Council can declare dispositions of laws to be contrary to the Constitution of France or to the principles of constitutional value that it has deduced from the Constitution or from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It also may declare laws to be in contravention of treaties which France has signed, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. Their declaring that a law is contrary to constitutional or treaty dispositions renders it invalid. The Council also may impose reservations as to the interpretation of certain provisions in statutes. The decisions of the Council are binding on all authorities.

In some cases, examination of laws by the Council is compulsory. Organic bills, those which fundamentally affect government and treaties, need to be assessed by the Council before they are considered ratified (Article 61-1 and 54). Amendments concerning the rules governing parliamentary procedures need to be considered by the Council, as well. Guidance may be sought from the Council in regard to whether reform should come under statute law (voted by Parliament) or whether issues are considered as règlement (regulation) to be adopted with decree of the prime minister. The re-definition of legislative dispositions as regulatory matters initially constituted a significant share of the (then light) caseload of the Council. An election is a decision making process whereby people vote for preferred political candidates or parties to act as representatives in government. ... President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies, universities, and countries. ... Insert non-formatted text hereInsert non-formatted text here:This article is about the legislative institution. ... A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ... The current Constitution of France was adopted on October 4, 1958, and has been amended 17 times, most recently on March 28, 2003. ... Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments Wikisource has original text related to this article: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La... A treaty is a binding agreement under international law concluded by subjects of international law, namely states and international organizations. ... The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights, was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ... Decree is an order that has the force of law. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ...


In the case of other statutes, seeking the oversight of the Council is not compulsory. However, the president of the Republic, the president of the Senate, the president of the Assembly, the prime minister, or 60 deputies or senators can submit a statute for examination by the Council before its signing into law by the President. In general, it is the parliamentary opposition which brings laws that it deems to infringe civil rights before the Council. Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... This politics-related article is a stub. ...


History and evolution

While since the 19th century the judicial review that the Conseil d'État brings to bear on the acts of the executive branch has played an increasingly large role, France long has been reticent about judicial review of legislative branch actions. The argument was that un-elected judges should not be able to overrule directly the decisions of the democratically-elected legislature. This may also have reflected the poor impression that the political action of the parlements – courts of justice under the ancien régime monarchy – had left: these courts often had chosen to block legislation in order to further the privileges of a small caste. Whatever the reasons, the idea was that legislation was a political tool, and that the responsibility of legislation should be borne by the legislative body. In France, the Conseil dÉtat (English: Council of State and sometimes Counsel of State) is an organ of the French national government. ... Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the executive is the branch of a government charged with implementing, or executing, the law. ... Parlements (pronounced in French) in ancien régime France — contrary to what their name would suggest to the modern reader — were not democratic or political institutions, but law courts . ... Ancien Régime means Old Rule or Old Order in French; in English, the term refers primarily to the social and political system established in France under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties. ... A monarchy, (from the Greek monos, one, and archein, to rule) is a form of government that has a monarch as Head of State. ...


Originally, the Council was meant to have rather technical responsibilities: ensuring that national elections were fair, arbitrating the division between statute law (from the legislative) and regulation (from the executive), etc. The Council role of safekeeping fundamental rights was probably not originally intended by the drafters of the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic: it was thought that Parliament should be able to see for itself that it did not infringe on such rights. The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, which was introduced on October 5, 1958. ...


In 1971, however, the Council ruled unconstitutional (Decision 71-44DC) some provisions of a law changing the rules for the incorporation of private nonprofit associations, because they infringed on freedom of association, one of the principles given in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen; they used the fact that the preamble of the French constitution briefly referred to those principles to justify their decision. For the first time, a statute was declare unconstitutional not because it infringed on technical legal principles, but because it was deemed to infringe on personal freedoms.


The Council still has to deal with technical cases of conformity of laws to the French Constitution. Among these:

  • The Council increasingly has frowned upon parliamentary amendments voted into the Finance Law (the budget) for motives unrelated to the finances. Since the budget has to be voted quickly, such amendments, known as "budgetary jumpers" (cavaliers budgétaires) may have a chance to pass, because parliamentarians may hesitate, delaying the budget, to remove them. However, they are an abuse of parliamentary procedure.
  • In January 2005, Pierre Mazeaud, then president of the Council, announced that the Council would take a stricter view of language of a non-prescriptive character introduced in laws. Previously, this language was considered devoid of juridical effects and thus harmless; but Mazeaud contended that introducing vague language devoid of juridical consequences just dilutes law unnecessarily. He denounced the use of law as an instrument of political communication, expressing vague wishes instead for effective legislation. Mazeaud also said that, because of the constitutional objective that law should be accessible and understandable, law should be precise and clear, and devoid of details or equivocal formulas.

In 1995, Roland Dumas was appointed president of the Council by François Mitterrand. Roland Dumas attracted major controversy twice. First, he appeared in scandals regarding the Elf oil company, with many details regarding his mistress and his expensive tastes in clothing appearing in the press. Then, the Council put forth some highly controversial opinions in a decision related to the International Criminal Court, in Decision 98-408 DC, declaring that the sitting President of the Republic could be tried criminally only by the High Court of Justice, a special court organized by Parliament and originally meant for cases of high treason. This, in essence, ensured that Jacques Chirac would not face criminal charges until he left office. In 1999, because of the Elf scandal, Roland Dumas put himself on leave from the Council and Yves Guéna assumed the interim presidency. Budget generally refers to a list of all planned expenses and revenues. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Roland Dumas (born August 23, 1922) is a French Socialist politician who served as Foreign Minister under Laurent Fabius from 1984 to 1986, and again under Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson, and Pierre Bérégovoy from 1988 to 1993. ... (help· info) (October 26, 1916 – January 8, 1996) was a French politician. ... A small forest elf (älva) rescuing an egg, from Solägget (1932), by Elsa Beskow An elf is a mythical creature of Norse mythology which survived in northern European folklore. ... Mistress is the feminine form of the word master. ... Official logo of the ICC. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as defined by several international agreements, most prominently the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. ... H.E. (help· info), (born November 29, 1932 in Paris) is a French politician who is currently President of the French Republic. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...


As of 2004, one law out of two, including the budget, was sent to the Council at the request of the opposition. In January 2005, Pierre Mazeaud deplored the inflation of the number of constitutional review requests motivated by political concerns, without much legal argumentation to back them on constitutional grounds. 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 2005, the Council attracted some limited controversy when Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Simone Veil campaigned for the proposed European Constitution, which was submitted to the French voters in a referendum. Simone Veil had done so after obtaining a "leave" from the Council, which was criticized by some, including Jean-Louis Debré, president of the National Assembly, as a dubious procedure — to follow their reasoning, what is the use of prohibiting appointed members of the council from conducting partisan politics if they can put themselves on leave for the duration of the campaign? She defended herself by pointing out to precedent [1] and famously remarked "How is that his business? He has no lesson to teach me." about Debré [2]. 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, commonly referred to as the European Constitution, is an international treaty intended to create a constitution for the European Union. ... Jean-Louis Debré is a French politician. ... The Palais Bourbon, front The French National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale) is one of the two houses of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. ...


On March 30, 2006, the Council ruled a controversial labor law (Contrat première embauche or CPE) proposed by the Chirac administration to be constitutional. In the week prior to the ruling, France had been subject to massive protests--including a national strike day on March 28, 2006 with over 1 million demonstrators. March 30 is the 89th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (90th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Demonstration against CPE, March 18, 2006, Paris The Contrat première embauche (CPE), translated first employment contract (although it may not be a first employment contract for the employee), is a proposed French law set to take effect in April 2006 that gives employers the right to fire without justification... March 28 is the 87th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (88th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Further reading

  • Frédéric Monera, L'idée de République et la jurisprudence du Conseil constitutionnel - Paris : L.G.D.J., 2004 [3]-[4];

See also

// Glossary and basic concepts Note: There exist significant problems with applying non-French terminology and concepts related to law and justice to the French justice system. ...

External links

  • Official site
  • Pierre Mazeaud's January 2005 declaration

  Results from FactBites:
 
Wikipedia search result (1786 words)
The Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958.
It considers conformity with the Constitution, and, since 1971, conformity with two texts referred to by the preamble of that constitution: the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen and the preamble of the constitution of the Fourth Republic, which are considered to be general principles of constitutional law.
The appointment of a new President of the Constitutional Council, Jean-Louis Debré, in February 2007 to replace Pierre Mazeaud was one of the last important decisions to be taken by Jacques Chirac before the end of his presidential mandate.
GlobaLex - Researching French Law Guide (1893 words)
Stéphane Cottin is the chief registrar of the Constitutional Council of France.
The Constitutional Council, or Conseil Constitutionnel, is in charge of the constitutional review of the statutes before they are enacted (in abstracto control) and of the control of national elections (Parliament, President of the Republic, Referendum).
The Constitutional Council consists of nine members: three members appointed by the president, three members appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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