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Cablegate: Germany's Supreme Court President Predicts Ludin

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS FRANKFURT 006441

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KISL GM
SUBJECT: Germany's Supreme Court President Predicts Ludin
Headscarf Appeal

Ref: FRANKFURT 5675

Sensitive but unclassified not for internet distribution

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a July 15 meeting with Consul
General, Federal Constitutional Court (BVG) president Hans-
Juergen Papier predicted that Baden-Wuerttemberg (B-W)
plaintiff Fereshta Ludin would appeal a newly-minted B-W
law banning headscarves for civil servants (reftel.)
Papier opined that the motion would force a decision from
the Karlsruhe-based Federal Constitutional Court, Germany's
supreme judicial authority, on whether the B-W law's
special exemption for Christian and Jewish religious
symbols signifies preferential treatment for those faiths
and contravenes religious freedom as enshrined in Germany's
constitution. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Consul General visited Federal Constitutional Court
(FCC) President Hans-Juergen Papier on July 15. Papier
began his presidency in March of 2002 and, unlike
predecessors Ute Limbach and Roman Herzog (who went on to
become Federal President of Germany), has limited
experience in elected office. He has instead amassed a
reputation as one of Germany's keenest legal minds before
becoming FCC president. He is a member of the Christian
Social Union (CSU) (Bavaria's conservative ruling party)
and has registered minority opinions against the Court's
sanctioning of same sex marriages and its abolition of
Bavaria's restrictions on abortion.

3. (SBU) Papier voiced his expectation that B-W plaintiff
Fereshta Ludin would appeal the Leipzig Federal
Administrative Court's upholding of a recent B-W law
banning headscarves for public servants. The FCC attracted
controversy in September 2003 for its decision to allow
state parliaments to pass laws regulating or forbidding the
wearing of headscarves by public school teachers. The
court's verdict addressed a long-running dispute between
teacher Fereshta Ludin and the B-W government over Ludin's
right to wear her headscarf while teaching. Papier
predicted that the case would end up in the First Senate
(the section of the FCC that rules on matters of religious
freedom), as opposed to Leipzig's assignation of the matter
to its own Second Senate (which deals with the rights of
civil servants.) The FCC president believes that Ludin's
appeal will force his court to decide whether the B-W law's
exemption of "Christian and Jewish traditions" from the ban
contradicts the doctrine of religious freedom mandated in
Germany's constitution.

4. (SBU) Papier noted that increasing involvement from the
European Human Rights Commission and the European Court
complicated the FCC's ability to set and maintain legal
precedent. He cited the independent European Human Rights
Commission review of the B-W headscarf law as an example.
Papier added that ratification of the European Constitution
would further blur jurisdictional authority.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The Ludin appeal should reach Karlsruhe
before the end of the year. Although Papier is a staunch
conservative, the liberal composition of the First Senate
and its relative independence from the court presidency
could mean that a decision striking the B-W law's reference
to "Christian and Jewish traditions" is likely. END
COMMENT.

BODDE

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