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Human Dignity, Identity Review of the European Arrest Warrant and the Court of Justice as a Listener in the Dialogue of Courts: Solange-III and Aranyosi: BVerfG 15 December 2015, 2 BvR 2735/14, Solange III, and ECJ (Grand Chamber) 5 April 2016, Joined Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru

  • Mathias Hong
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The following case note expands and revises M. Hong, ‘Human Dignity and Constitutional Identity: The Solange-III-Decision of the German Constitutional Court’, Verfassungsblog, 18 February 2016, <verfassungsblog.de/human-dignity-and-constitutional-identity-the-solange-iii-decision-of-the-german-constitutional-court/>, visited 9 October 2016.

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1 BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III; cf. also BVerfG (Chamber), 2 BvR 890/16 of 6 September 2016. See also Reestman, J. H. and Besselink, L. F. M., ‘Editorial: Sandwiched between Strasbourg and Karlsruhe: EU fundamental rights protection’, 12 EuConst (2016) p. 213 . Decisions of the German Constitutional Court are cited according to either the Court’s homepage (www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/; with §§ numbers referring to the marginal numbers used there) or its official reports; e.g. BVerfGE 120, 274 (335-339), pointing to the decision in volume 120 of the reports, starting at p. 274, and referring specifically to pp. 335-339. See also for a collection of decisions including the report’s pagination, <www.servat.unibe.ch/dfr/dfr_bvbd130.html>, visited 9 October 2016 (e.g. vor BVerfGE 120, 274, <sorminiserv.unibe.ch:8080/tools/ainfo.exe?Command=ShowPrintVersion&Name=bv120274>, visited 4 August 2016).

2 ECJ (Grand Chamber) 5 April 2016, Joined Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru. See also Reestman and Besselink, supra n. 2.

3 Cf., also using this name, e.g. C. Bilz, ‘Konfrontation statt Kooperation? “Solange III” und die Melloni-Entscheidung des EuGH’, JuWissBlog, 15 March 2016, <www.juwiss.de/26-2016/>, visited 5 October 2016. See also, pondering it, F. Schorkopf, ‘BVerfG aktiviert Identitätskontrolle: Karlsruhe will Kommunikation, nicht Konfrontation’, 29 January 2016, <www.lto.de/recht/hintergruende/h/bverfg-2bvr273514-eu-haftbefehl-auslieferung-verfassungsidentitaet-menschenwuerde-gg-eu-recht-emrk>, visited 5 October 2016. Calling the judgment ‘Solange-Two-and-a-half’: C. Goos, ‘Solange Zweieinhalb – Teil 1’, <www.juwiss.de/14-2016/>, visited 5 October 2016.

4 BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, § 62 (die deutsche Hoheitsgewalt darf ‘die Hand nicht zu Verletzungen der Menschenwürde durch andere Staaten reichen’).

5 Cf. §§ 59-60 (‘Gewährleistungsverantwortung’).

6 Cf. §§ 17, 109, 113, 120, 123.

7 Cf. § 35.

8 BVerfGE 123, 267 (352-355) Lissabon (2009); cf. English translation www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/EN/2009/06/es20090630_2bve000208en.html, visited 9 October 2016, §§ 240-241.

9 BVerfGE 73, 339 (387) Solange-II (1986).

10 Cf. ECJ (Grand Chamber) 26 February 2013, Case C-399/11, Melloni v Ministerio Fiscal, §§ 59, 63-64.

11 Cf., e.g., BVerfGE 123, 267 (348-349, 354, 397, 400, 402) Lissabon (2009). Cf. English translation, supra n. 8, §§ 240 (‘the primacy [...] only applies by virtue and in the context of the constitutional empowerment’), 331-332 (‘primacy by virtue of constitutional empowerment’), 334-335, 339, 343. See also the references to similar rulings by courts of multiple other member states in: BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, § 47.

12 BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, §§ 78, 82-83 (explicitly quoting Melloni).

13 Cf. § 83; emphasis added.

14 Cf. BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, §§ 85-107.

15 Cf. § 105: ‘Das Unionsrecht steht daher Ermittlungen [...] durch die nationalen Justizbehörden nicht nur nicht im Wege, es verlangt sie.’

16 Cf. § 125.

17 Cf. § 125: ‘Grenzen der Ermittlungspflicht [...] in der Rechtsprechung des Gerichtshofs der Europäischen Union nicht geklärt [...]’.

18 Cf. §§ 86-90.

19 Cf. §§ 91-97, referring to Art. 47 and Art. 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and to the right to an effective legal remedy as a general principle of Union law.

20 Cf. §§ 98-104, referring to the case law on Art. 6 ECHR. See additionally, meanwhile, Art. 9 (‘Right to a new trial’) of Directive (EU) 2016/343 of 9 March 2016 (‘Member States shall ensure that, where suspects or accused persons were not present at their trial and the conditions laid down in Article 8(2) were not met, they have the right to a new trial, or to another legal remedy, which allows a fresh determination of the merits of the case, including examination of new evidence, and which may lead to the original decision being reversed. In that regard, Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence’).

21 For that term see M. Steinbeis, Europarechtsbruch als Verfassungspflicht: Karlsruhe zündet die Identitätskontrollbombe, Verfassungsblog, 26 January 2016, <verfassungsblog.de/europarechtsbruch-als-verfassungspflicht-karlsruhe-zuendet-die-identitaetskontroll-bombe., visited 9 October 2016.

22 Cf. for this allegation e.g. Sauer, H., ‘“Solange” geht in Altersteilzeit – Der unbedingte Vorrang der Menschenwürde vor dem Unionsrecht’, 69 Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (2016) p. 1134 ff; Schönberger, C., ‘Anmerkung’, 71 Juristen Zeitung (2016) p. 422 at p. 424 (‘judikative Kommunikationspolitik’– ‘judicial politics of communication’).

23 Cf. BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, §§ 25, 34, 50.

24 For the proposition, that dignity is constitution’s highest value, see, e.g. BVerfGE 5, 85 (204); 6, 32 (41); 27, 1 (6); 32, 98 (106); 54, 148 (153); 61, 126 (137); 72, 155 (170); 75, 369 (380); 96, 375 (399); 79, 256 (268); 95, 220 (241); 102, 370 (389); 108, 282 (305); 109, 279 (311); 115, 118 (152); 117, 71 (89).

25 Cf. BVerfGE 96, 375 (404); 96, 409 (410).

26 Cf. BVerfGE 118, 79 (95-96) – Emmissionshandel (2007).

27 Cf. BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, § 76. But see also, interestingly, the more cautious statement of one of the three-justice chambers of the Court in a subsequent preliminary injunction, which speaks only of an ‘at least partial’ determination: BVerfG (Chamber), 2 BvR 890/16 of 6 May 2016, § 18 (‘Der Auslieferungsverkehr der Bundesrepublik Deutschland mit anderen Mitgliedstaaten [...] ist durch den Rahmenbeschluss [...] zumindest teilweise unionsrechtlich determiniert’), emphasis added.

28 Sauer, supra n. 22, p. 1136.

29 Cf. BVerfG, 2 BvR 2735/14 of 15 December 2015, Solange-III, §§ 34, 50.

30 Cf., e.g., BVerfGE 57, 250 (275) – V-Mann (1981); 90, 145 (173) – Cannabis (1994); 122, 248 (270) – Rügeverkümmerung (2009); 128, 326 (376) – Sicherungsverwahrung (2011); 130, 372 (389) – Maßregelanrechnung (2012).

31 Cf., e.g. BVerfGE 113, 273 (303-304) Europäischer Haftbefehl (2005); 113, 154 (164-165) – Auslieferung USA (2005).

32 BVerfGE 123, 267 (463) Lissabon (2009); cf. English translation, supra n. 8, § 364: ‘The principle that any sanction presupposes guilt thus has its foundation in the guarantee of human dignity [...]. The principle of guilt forms part of the constitutional identity which is unassailable due to Article 79.3 of the Basic Law and which is also protected against encroachment by supranational public authority.’

33 Cf. §§ 52, 56, 59, 76, 83 ff, 107.

34 Cf. § 58.

35 Cf. § 56.

36 Cf. § 61.

37 Cf. ECtHR 25 April 1978, Case No. 5856/72, Tyrer v United Kingdom, § 33 (‘... he was treated as an object in the power of the authorities…’); ECtHR (Grand Chamber) 28 September 2015, Case No. 23380/09, Bouyid v Belgium, § 90.

38 Cf. BVerfGE 7, 53 (57 ff) Armenrecht (1957). For the connection to human dignity see, e.g. BVerfGE 9, 89 (95) Haftbefehl (1959).

39 Cf., e.g. BVerfGE 26, 66 (71) Nebenklage (1969); 46, 202 (210) Pflichtverteidiger (1977). For the connection to dignity: BVerfGE 57, 250 (274 ff) V-Mann (1981); 122, 248 (271) Rügeverkümmerung (2009).

40 Cf. U.S. Supreme Court, West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette 319 U.S. 624, 639, Justice Jackson, Opinion of the Court (‘True, the task of translating the majestic generalities of the Bill of Rights ... into concrete restraints on officials ..., is one to disturb self-confidence’.

41 BVerfG, 2 BvR 2728/13 of 21 June 2016, OMT, § 138 (‘Das betrifft die Wahrung des Menschenwürdekerns der Grundrechte ...’); cf. English press release, <www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2016/bvg16-034.html>, visited 9 October 2016 (‘This concerns the protection of the fundamental rights’ core of human dignity (Art. 1 GG)’).

42 BVerfG (Chamber), 2 BvR 890/16 of 6 September 2016, §36 (‘der unmittelbar zur Menschenwürde gehörende Kerngehalt der Selbstbelastungsfreiheit’).

43 Cf. §§ 36, 39.

44 See, e.g. C. Goos, ‘Solange Zweieinhalb – Teil 2’, </www.juwiss.de/15-2016>, visited 9 October 2016.

45 See also Grimm, D., ‘Dignity in a Legal Context: Dignity as an Absolute Right’, in C. McCrudden (ed.), Understanding Human Dignity (Oxford University Press/British Academy 2013) p. 381 at p. 390 (‘dignity core’).

46 BVerfGE 84, 90 (126 ff) Bodenreform (1991) (‘Fundament aller Grundrechte’); 94, 12 (34) Bodenreform (1996).

47 BVerfGE 109, 379 (279, 310-311, 313-314, 319-320) Wohnraumüberwachung (2004).

48 BVerfGE 109, 379 (321-322) (for intimate conversations with a spouse – whereas the absolutely protected area does not include conversations that are immediately related to concrete criminal offences, cf. ibid., 319-320).

49 BVerfGE 109, 379 (322) (for confessional conversations with a cleric).

50 Cf. BVerfGE 109, 379 (326) (as far as the surveillance does not affect the occupier of the home but other persons, for example his guests).

51 Cf. BVerfGE 93, 266 (293) Soldaten (1995) (‘Wurzel aller Grundrechte’; ‘sämtliche Grundrechte’ sind ‘Konkretisierungen des Prinzips der Menschenwürde’); 107, 275 (284) Benetton (2003) (‘Fundament aller Grundrechte’).

52 BVerfGE 94, 49 (103) Drittstaaten (1996).

53 BVerfGE 120, 274 (335-339) Online-Durchsuchung (2008); English translation, <www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/EN/2008/02/rs20080227_1bvr037007en.html>, visited 9 October 2016, §§ 270-287.

54 BVerfG, 1 BvR 966/09 of 20 April 2016, BKAG, §§ 119-130.

55 BVerfGE 115, 118 (153-158) Luftsicherheitsgesetz (2006); cf. English press release, <www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2006/bvg06-011.html>, visited 9 October 2016.

56 ECtHR 20 December 2011, Case No. 18299/03, Fingenov and others v Russia, § 232.

57 Cf., in particular, Hermann v Mangoldt in Deutscher Bundestag/Bundesrat (eds.), 5 Der Parlamentarische Rat – 1948-1949, Akten und Protokolle, Ausschuss für Grundsatzfragen (1993) p. 591 (‘[J]eder Artikel für sich gewährleistet ein Stück Freiheit, das notwendig ist, um die Menschenwürde zu gewährleisten’) (‘[E]ach article separately safeguards a piece of freedom that is necessary to safeguard human dignity’, translation by the author). A legitimate role for legislative history in legal interpretation (although it was, of course, sharply rejected by Justice Antonin Scalia and is still frowned upon by many current originalists) is recognised, e.g., (even) by R. Dworkin, Law’s Empire (Harvard University Press 1986) p. 342-350. See also Nourse, V. F., ‘A Decision Theory of Statutory Interpretation’, 122 Yale Law Journal (2012) p. 70 at p. 72 with references in n. 1) (‘Legislative history’s fires still burn, despite repeated attempts to extinguish them’), and (after Scalia’s passing): U. S. Supreme Court, Evenwell v. Abott, 4 April 2016, No. 14-940, Justice Ginsburg, Opinion of the Court (Slip Op.), p. 8-13 (in particular p. 10-11).

58 Cf., e.g., Deutscher Bundestag/Bundesrat, supra, n. 57, p. 94, 594, 601, 603.

59 For the concept of a living originalism see J. Balkin, Living Originalism (Harvard University Press 2011); see also Tribe, L. H., ‘America’s Constitutional Narrative’, 141 Daedalus (2012) p. 18 at p. 21, 35 (n. 10); A. R. Amar, America’s Unwritten Constitution (Basic Books 2012) p. xiii.

60 BVerfG 15 December 2015, 2 BvR 2735/14, Solange-III, § 49 (‘Die [...] für integrationsfest erklärten Schutzgüter dulden auch keine Relativierung im Einzelfall [...].’).

61 See e.g. Alexy, R., A Theory of Constitutional Rights (Oxford University Press 2009) p. 62-66 .

62 Cf. ECJ (Grand Chamber) 5 April 2016, joined Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, § 78, 82.

63 Cf. § 85, emphasis added.

64 Cf. § 88.

65 Cf. §§ 89, 93, 105.

66 Cf. § 91.

67 ECJ (Grand Chamber) 8 April 2014, Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12 Digital Rights Ireland v Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

68 BVerfGE 125, 260 Vorratsdaten (2010); English translation, <www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/EN/2010/03/rs20100302_1bvr025608en.html>, visited 9 October 2016.

69 For an early warning see Bäcker, M., ‘Solange IIa oder Basta I? Das Vorratsdaten-Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts aus europarechtlicher Sicht’, 46 EuR (2011) p. 111 at p. 116-120.

70 See for suggestions in those directions, Bäcker, M., ‘Das Grundgesetz als Implementationsgarant der Unionsgrundrechte’, 50 EuR (2015) p. 389 at p. 408-411.

71 On ‘persuasive authority’ (as opposed to ‘precedential authority’) as a basis for a doctrinal role of the dialogue of courts see Slaughter, A.-M., ‘A Global Community of Courts’, 44(1) Harvard International Law Journal, (2003) p. 191 at p. 199-202.

* The following case note expands and revises M. Hong, ‘Human Dignity and Constitutional Identity: The Solange-III-Decision of the German Constitutional Court’, Verfassungsblog, 18 February 2016, <verfassungsblog.de/human-dignity-and-constitutional-identity-the-solange-iii-decision-of-the-german-constitutional-court/>, visited 9 October 2016.

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