Analyzing U.K. Supreme Court Ruling

Analyzing U.K. Supreme Court Ruling

September 24, 20191 min read

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson illegally suspended Parliament, putting lawmakers back in session to debate Brexit. 

Villanova political science professor Catherine Warrick, PhD, says that, while the circumstances are unusual, the court has acted in defense of the constitution and the rule of law by protecting Parliament's powers. She notes there are two key factors in the court's ruling. 

"First, the ruling wasn't about Brexit itself. The Supreme Court made it clear that their decision was about the limited question of the power to prorogue Parliamentand was taken on the basis of constitutional principles, not political questions. Interestingly, the government had claimed (implausibly) that the prorogation was not about Brexit at all, but now that it has been ruled illegal, a lot of conservative commentators are suddenly depicting the decision as an attempt to derail Brexit. Bit of trying to have it both ways there.

"Second, there seems to be a lot of commentary on social media claiming that the court said that the prime minister lied to or misled Queen Elizabeth in order to get her to agree to prorogation. This isn't really truethe inference can be drawn that Johnson behaved dishonestly, but I don't think the Court said so outright."

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