The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court will announce Tuesday morning its ruling on the legality of the order to shut down Parliament for five weeks this month. One of the most important constitutional decisions in Britain’s modern history, the ruling will be orally announced on live television at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (London time; 5:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast).
The “handdown” event can be viewed at this link. Scroll down to Supreme Court Live.
After that live stream, the opinion or opinions will be available at this site. Scroll down to Decided Cases.
At issue is whether the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, acted illegally or unconstitutionally last month when he obtained, from Queen Elizabeth, an order “proroguing” (suspending) Parliament, which took effect on September 9. The national legislature is not scheduled to return, under the order, until October 14.
A preliminary issue — which could prevent a ruling on the validity of the suspension — is whether the courts had any authority to review the Prime Minister’s action. If the Court were to rule, as the Johnson government has asked it to do, that the issue is a political not a judicial matter, that would end the two cases that the Court heard last week.
If the ruling is made on the merits, and if the Prime Minister loses, an immediate question will be what remedy – if any — the Court decides to impose. Such a ruling could lead to the prompt reopening of Parliament, with further opportunity for new legislation dealing with whether the UK will actually leave the European Union on October 31 — the date now scheduled and the date that the Prime Minister has insisted he will act “do or die.” Lately, some of his Ministers have said the government will obey a ruling against the suspension, but they have not ruled out a new suspension effort as an option.
No part of the cases challenges the legality of what the Queen herself did in agreeing to the suspension. She is immune to legal challenge as the constitutional head of government.