The amendment meant that the tribunal would need a two-thirds majority to take a decision on constitutional matters instead of a simple majority. The minimum number of judges needed to make a decision was also raised from nine to 13, making it more difficult to convene a quorum.
The changes stated that there should be a six-month period before the tribunal can examine a case, rather than two weeks, which critics say allows the government to pass legislation that will go unchallenged for months.
Despite a ruling that many sections of the law passed "non-compliant with the Polish Constitution," the Polish Government has refused to move.
Warsaw was given a warning, June 1, 2016, that changes to its constitutional court went against the EU's values on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. It has threatened — for the first time ever — to invoke Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which would lead to Poland being suspended from any vote in the European Council.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said in July:
"Despite the dialogue pursued with the Polish authorities since the beginning of the year, the Commission considers the main issues which threaten the rule of law in Poland have not been resolved. We are therefore now making concrete recommendations to the Polish authorities on how to address the concerns so that the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland can carry out its mandate to deliver effective constitutional review."
The Polish Government has offered some concessions, but — with less than a month to go before the threatened sanctions — Timmermans has told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (September 27):
"At this stage, the dispute concerning the composition and the judgments of the constitutional of the tribunal remains unresolved."