James McDermott: System of President referring bill to Supreme Court is flawed and dubious

Of particular concern is the permanent immunity from future challenge that an Article 26 reference bestows on any bill given a constitutional clean bill of health by the Supreme Court

The Four Courts: one radical solution to the current problem of referrals would be to remove Article 26 from the Constitution. Picture: Fergal Phillips

The President’s decision to refer 12 sections of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2022 to the Supreme Court has focused attention on one of the President’s few real, as opposed to ceremonial, powers.

Under Article 26 of the Constitution where the President believes that one or more provisions of any Bill are of doubtful constitutionality then having convened a meeting of the advisory Council of State, he can exercise his discretion to refer them to ...