Thursday, February 20, 2014

Germany’s Constitutional Court: Extraordinarily Unconstitutional Tactics

On 7 February, Germany's highest court, its Constitutional Court, decided that it wanted to consult another court, and this one not in Germany! The court to be consulted is the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.

The question on which the German Constitutional Court feels itself unqualified to rule is the constitutionality of Mario Draghi’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) scheme.

Is the Constitutional Court so stupid that it does not know the OMT violates the German Constitution? Basically, the OMT allows the European Central Bank (ECB) to monetise fiscal deficits - and that is not allowed by the generally highly-sensible and conservative German Constitution.

The truth is that Germany's Constitutional Court is hardly stupid, even if it is composed of politicians rather than judges or lawyers.

So if the Members of the Court know that something is against the Constitution of their country, why don't they want to say so?

Of course, because they are politicians! They do not want to say that the move is unconstitutional because they are afraid that such an announcement will undermine the delicate progress that is taking place in the European economy.

So, instead of doing what they are sworn to do (uphold the Constitution), they have taken the strange decision to undermine their own Constitution in the interests of the short-term health of the economy. That is how the dangerous slide into lawlessness starts in any country. We have seen this sort of thing in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe....

The ECJ normally takes up to 24 months to handle a case, and the German Constitutional Court will then have to consider whatever the ECJ says in order to reach its own decision (which could take it another two years).

I suppose the hope is that, by then, Europe’s economy will be swimming along well, so that this will have become a non-issue by then.

Or, if the Eurozone economy does not recover by then, no doubt the Constitutional Court can ask for the advice of the top court, in turn, of many other countries :)

Why not go next to Afghanistan?

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