Monday, March 30, 2009

Das Bundesverfassungsgericht

"The Constitutional Court is in some people’s eyes Germany’s most powerful institution. Almost 80% of Germans trust it; less than half have confidence in the federal government and the Bundestag, the lower house. Although a political player, the court is seen to be above politics. Parties nominate judges, but they are usually approved unanimously by the legislature. Unlike America’s Supreme Court justices, Germany’s seek consensus and seldom write dissenting opinions. Any citizen may bring a constitutional case, an antidote to Nazi notions of justice, and some 6,000 a year do so…

"The court has elaborated rights that the constitution’s authors never envisaged. The Lüth decision of 1958 held that constitutional rights affect citizens’ relations not just with the state but also with each other, a judgment so far-reaching as to be termed a 'juridical coup d’état'. The court developed a notion of the 'duty to protect' basic rights from threats stemming from private action or social forces. In 1983 the court created a right for individuals to control their personal information. Last year, when considering plans to snoop on the computers of suspected terrorists, it found a right to the 'integrity of information-technology systems'." —The Economist

No comments: