With Stephan Harbarth, a Union politician and business lawyer should head the Constitutional Court. Critics fear a conflict of interest, in legal circles is scoffed. But such reactions are out of place.
The staff is causing a stir: The Deputy Group Chairman of the Union, Stephan Harbarth, should move to the head of the Federal Constitutional Court. First, the Union politician will be vice-president of the highest German court and in 2020 then take over the presidency of Andreas Voßkuhle.
Critics are not just worried about the reputation and quality of Germany’s highest court when new entrants from politics decide on legal issues. Above all, many citizens are worried about the independence of the Constitutional Court, which finally also looks after the Federal Government, the parties and Parliament.
Should the CDU man make sure that Karlsruhe gets smoother? And what about the separation of powers when such top jobs of the judiciary are filled with politicians? Already, comparisons are being made with the strategy of US President Donald Trump, who has consolidated his power base by filling judicial posts in the US Supreme Court for years to come.
No institution in Germany enjoys such great trust as the Federal Constitutional Court. In times when the political disenchantment is greater than ever, Karlsruhe is on important issues – from the rescue of the euro on social policy to the social changes – as a guardian of the rule of law and for some even as a last anchor in one more and more out of joint world. And the institution will retain this exceptional position when Harbarth soon wears the red robe.