If a judge belonging to the AfD wants to prohibit a political scientist from seeing the consequences of NPD positions as expulsion politics, what does such an event stand for – even if it was overturned again in the next higher instance? It makes clear that the judiciary is also affected by a "shift to the right" in different ways. This is illustrated by numerous examples that stand for helplessness and ignorance, proximity and ignorance. Some of these cases were compiled by the jurist Joachim Wagner, who was at times very well known to the public as a presenter of "Panorama".
In his book "Rechte Richter. Afd judges, prosecutors and lay judges: a danger to the rule of law?"He describes and comments on them in order to draw attention to related problems. The author is concerned with evaluating the phenomenon that there are also right-wing extremist lay judges, magistrates and public prosecutors. Their actions have consequences for the functioning rule of law.
Influences on investigations, lack of compliance with the moderation requirement
The author wants to answer different questions: It is about the extent and the danger potential of the phenomenon, it is about influences on investigations and necessary reactions to them, it is about the lack of compliance with the requirement of moderation, and it is about right-wing extremist influence on the judiciary. To say it right at the beginning: General answers. One does not find assessments of this in Wagner. For this he would have definitions. Have to present investigation criteria. Because an extent must be measured just like a danger potential at a yardstick.
Nevertheless, the remarks deserve interest in terms of content, although they rarely go beyond the description of individual examples and their general commentary. However, even such statements, when read abstractly, draw attention to real problems for the rule of law. Because the actions of those concerned and their positions trigger effects, for which, however, the necessary awareness is still lacking.
Examples of problematic undesirable developments in the judiciary
For it the justice is to be sensitized, in such a way one can understand Wagner at any rate. In any case, he makes this clear with the most diverse examples, which have different backgrounds. For example, an Israel-related anti-Semitism is not recognized by a public prosecutor's office, but this is apparently primarily due to a lack of expertise on such issues. Courts have ruled differently on one and the same issue, in this case the inscription on a right-wing extremist election poster.
There absonderliche interpretations are made by a judge, who behaves as a hobby historian with little expert knowledge. There the Corona consequences are played down by a relevant judge. And in the milieu of the "Reichsbürger" a public prosecutor demonstrates with. The author mentions the cases without making a false generalization. In all of this, however, he emphasizes that individual cases also damage the image of the rule of law and confidence in it.
Plea for a Defensible Rule of Law
Furthermore, it is pointed out that in the longer term this could lead to institutional problems for the judiciary. The decisive problem is not that right-wing extremist attitudes dominate among judicial officers. The author makes a circulating legal positivism responsible for what is meant, whereby he comments on this interpretation of law somewhat one-sidedly and obliquely. At the end, he goes into detail about the "commitment" of honorary judges and lay judges who, in this function, made their political convictions the yardstick.
As a consequence, a plea is made for a defensible constitutional state. However, Wagner's view remains general. Interesting are his individual examples. The problem awareness that comes along with it. He does not answer his mentioned questions himself, at best you have to deal with fragments. But they draw attention to a real potential danger for the judiciary and the rule of law, which is precisely the merit of Wagner's book.
Joachim Wagner, right judge. Afd judges, prosecutors and jurors: a threat to the rule of law?, Berlin 2021 (Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag), 194 pp.