Bundestag, Constitutional Law, Election Law, Federal Constitutional Court

What to Do About Germany’s Ever-Expanding Parliament?

The lower house of Germany's federal parliament, the Bundestag, now has 709 members, making it the second-largest parliament in the world. This is over 100 more members than the 598 seats Germany's voting laws formally provide for. Why is the Bundestag growing? To understand this, you have to understand German federal election law. Here's a… Continue reading What to Do About Germany’s Ever-Expanding Parliament?

Basic Rights, Bundestag, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Federal Constitutional Court

A “Justice Offensive” to Legalize Marijuana in Germany

The German Hemp Federation (GHF), a German marijuana-legalization lobby, has started what it calls a "justice offensive" (g) to convince the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) to declare laws against marijuana unconstitutional. The current state of play in Germany is that it is illegal nationwide, under § 29 (g) of the Narcotics Law, to possess… Continue reading A “Justice Offensive” to Legalize Marijuana in Germany

Bundestag, Federal Constitutional Court, Public Law

Can the Bundestag pass laws with 85% of its Members Absent? The Answer May Shock You.

A recent dispute involving the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, has highlighted a quirk of German parliamentary practice: The Bundestag sometimes passes laws when the vast majority of its 709 current members aren't there. This quirk became a political theme on June 28, 2019, when the Bundestag held a marathon session before its summer break.… Continue reading Can the Bundestag pass laws with 85% of its Members Absent? The Answer May Shock You.

Constitutional Law, Federal Constitutional Court, Freedom of Speech, Social Media

Facebook Ban Before the Federal Constitutional Court

The Federal Constitutional Court has just issued a preliminary injunction (einstweilige Anordnung) in what may turn out to be a landmark case about the constitutionality of Facebook bans. The case involves a Facebook post from January 21, 2019 by a far-right group called the "Third Way" (Der III. Weg), which bills itself as "National, Revolutionary,… Continue reading Facebook Ban Before the Federal Constitutional Court

Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Federal Constitutional Court, Police and Prosecutors

The Difficult Birth of the Criminal Plea Bargain in Germany

  If there's one rule of legal politics that applies worldwide, it's that criminal justice is the red-headed stepchild of the law. Most of the people who are prosecuted for crimes are poor, and the state has to pay for the lawyers who prosecute and defend them -- if it guarantees them defense lawyers at… Continue reading The Difficult Birth of the Criminal Plea Bargain in Germany