Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

603 Annals of Am. Acad. of Pol. & Soc. Sci. 111 (2006)


Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court rivals the Supreme Court of the United States in protecting political democracy. Its jurisprudence of democracy has shaped the course and character of German politics while upholding the rule of law and defending the constitutionally prescribed “free democratic basic order.” In furtherance of these objectives, the Constitutional Court has invalidated regulations limiting the rights of minor parties and constitutionalizing measures designed to stabilize Germany’s system of parliamentary government. These purposes have been served by constitutional decisions on voting rights, public funding of election campaigns, dissolution of Parliament, and proportional representation, including the limiting 5 percent clause. These decisions, along with a discussion of the Hessian Election Review Case—a reminder of Bush v. Gore—are calculated to make political representation both responsive and responsible and to anchor the political system firmly in the democratic values at the heart of the Basic Law.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.