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

Constitutional Law, Dublin III, ECJ, European Law, Federal Constitutional Court, Immigration and Asylum, Policy

‘Die Zauberlehrlinge’: Plausible Answers to Not Very Important Questions

Die Zauberlehrlinge (The Sorcerer's Apprentices) is a new book on the German response to the European asylum crisis. It has two authors: Maximilian Steinbeis, editor of Verfassungsblog, a site featuring commentary "on matters constitutional" by left-of-center academics, and Stephan Detjen (g) who is currently Chief Correspondent of Deutschlandradio, a nationwide public-radio station. This post is a… Continue reading ‘Die Zauberlehrlinge’: Plausible Answers to Not Very Important Questions

Dublin III, European Law, Federal Constitutional Court, Immigration and Asylum, Policy

Was Merkel’s Decision to Open Borders in 2015 Illegal?

The refugee influx of 2015 is a fait accompli, and the numbers of people applying for asylum in Germany is now back to more normal levels -- in September and October 2015, ten thousand people per day were arriving at the borders, now the numbers are more like ten thousand per month. So is the… Continue reading Was Merkel’s Decision to Open Borders in 2015 Illegal?