Civil law systems that have established constitutional courts alongside their systems of regular courts have traditionally had difficulty defining the precise jurisdictional dividing line between them. This has been a problem in Russia since the time of the establishment of Russia's first Constitutional Court in 1991 and it continues today with Russia's current Constitutional Court, established by Russia's 1993 Constitution. The clash between the Russian Constitutional Court and regular courts has intensified since 1998, when the Constitutional Court began a campaign to expand its jurisdiction through broad interpretations of its powers under the Constitution. That campaign continues to the present day, with decisions as recent as this year claiming even broader jurisdiction than before. Many of the Constitution Court's decisions can be criticized as poorly reasoned and contrary to the letter and history of the jurisdictional grants set out in the Constitution. This article examines those decisions and the reactions of the regular court systems to them.
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