Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Brocker I 774
Basic rights/Böckenförde: have a double structure: as a) subjective rights of defence
Brocker I 775
and b) objective basic standards. (1)
Brocker I 778
Objective law standards: in this understanding, fundamental rights have an optimizing character. (2) Here, fundamental rights radiate into other areas of law - with priority being given to them, since fundamental rights are constitutional law. (3)
Ratio of fundamental rights/scope of jurisdiction: Böckenförde criticises the concept of the "objective order of values" of the fundamental rights (so used in the so-called Lüth-judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1958, (4) In which the court had regarded freedom of expression as also relevant to private law. Accordingly, fundamental rights have an indirect third-party effect.
Values/value interpretation/law/BöckenfördeVs: the value interpretation of fundamental rights is characterised by Böckenförde as a permanent facon de parler of the court and marked as a disguise formula and sharply criticised as a disguise formula for judicial or interpretative decisionism. (5)
Brocker I 779
Problem: a rational justification for values and their ranking is not recognizable, therefore the value order formula does not provide a justification, but on the contrary covers rather that judges must make decisions in cases of conflicting fundamental rights, which they then did not justify further with the reference to the value order formula. This will considerably increase the court's scope at the expense of the democratically legitimised legislature.
A further problem: if fundamental rights are regarded as a norm under objective law, this also creates a duty on the part of the state to protect them. (6) The problem was now that the content and scope of state duties of protection could not be derived from the constitution. The duty to protect is just as indeterminate as the figure of value and an invitation to intervene in the sphere of action of the citizen in a regulating manner.
Brocker I 780
However, since the protective function is now exercised more by action than by omission, there is a danger of legalising all conflicts on genuine political issues in principle.
Problem: this leads to a shift within the separation of powers from democratic legislators (the parliament) to constitutional jurisdiction. This would then take on the role of the creator of the legal system instead of applying the law and thus limiting itself to the control function. (7)


1. Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat – Verfassung – Demokratie. Studien zur Verfassungstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht, Frankfurt/M. 1992 (zuerst 1991), Abschn. 1.
2. Ibid., Abschn. 2. „Rechtsstaatliche Freiheitsgewähr“.
3. Ibid. p. 166f.
4. BVerfGE 7, 198ff.
5. Böckenförde 1992, S. 135.
6. Ibid. p. 173f.
7. Ibid. p. 183f

Tine Stein, „Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat – Verfassung- Demokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (Ed.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Böckenf I
Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde
State, Society and Liberty: Studies in Political Theory and Constitutional Law, London 1991
German Edition:
Staat, Gesellschaft, Freiheit. Studien zur Staatstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht Frankfurt 1976

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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