On Wearing the Kippa in Public – and in Public Service

The kippa, the Jewish skullcap, is again in the news after the admission of Felix Klein, Germany’s Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, that he cannot recommend that Jews wear a kippa everywhere in Germany. The statement has been harshly criticized as an official surrender to antisemitism. Such criticism is woefully misplaced. Klein certainly intended no surrender and was merely recognizing the existing reality.

Continue Reading →

Fidesz and Faith: Ethno-Nationalism in Hungary

“The protection of Hungary’s self-identity and its Christian culture is the duty of all state organizations” says one of the new provisions that were adopted on 20 June to change the country’s Fundamental Law of 2011. Besides its potential to limit fundamental rights, what are the possible consequences of this constitutional change, in legal, cultural and political terms?

Continue Reading →

Reconciling Religion: Lessons Learned from the Triple Talaq Case for Comparative Constitutional Governance

The recent case of Shayara Bano v Union of India heard before the Supreme Court of India provide helpful guidance for how a secular democratic regime with a multiplicity of religious, ethnic, and cultural communities can manage constitutional governance with an increasing number of seemingly irreconcilable tensions. Pluralist societies such as Canada and the United States grapple with a variety of delicate balancing acts: in such instance, the need to reconcile accommodation for religious and cultural minorities with the protection of gender rights on the other.

Continue Reading →

Justitias Dresscode: Wie das BVerfG Neutralität mit „Normalität“ verwechselt

Am Dienstagmorgen hat die Erste Kammer des Zweiten Senats einer hessischen Rechtsreferendarin einstweiligen Rechtsschutz gegen ein pauschales Kopftuchverbot verwehrt, das Beamt*innen nach § 45 HBG auferlegt wird. Diese Norm soll auch auf Referendar*innen Anwendung finden. Die Referendarin darf nun keine gerichtliche Sitzungsleitung und keine Sitzungsvertretung für die Staatsanwaltschaft übernehmen. Zudem muss sie aus dem Publikum den Verhandlungen beiwohnen, während ihre Mitreferendar*innen neben der* Richter*in auf der Bank sitzen dürfen. Selten wurden Ausschlusspraktiken räumlich so deutlich gemacht.

Continue Reading →

Triple Talaq before the Indian Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India has to decide a case that has captured India’s political, constitutional and social imagination – a challenge to the constitutional validity of triple talaq, a practice that allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife unilaterally simply by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.

Continue Reading →

Protection with Hesitation: on the recent CJEU Decisions on Religious Headscarves at Work

The CJEU’s Achbita and Bougnaoui decisions on workplace bans of Islamic headscarves are disappointing as they are not providing enough guidance to the national courts concerning the criteria that they need to take into consideration in their attempts to find a balance between the rights in conflict. The judgments do not provide any criteria for the admissibility of dress codes other than that they should be neutral and objectively justified. Even those terms though are not analysed by the court in a sufficient manner.

Continue Reading →

The CJEU’s headscarf decisions: Melloni behind the veil?

On 14 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down two landmark judgments on the Islamic headscarf at work. The twin decisions, Achbita and Bougnaoui, were eagerly awaited, not only because of the importance and delicacy of the legal issues the cases raised, but also because the Advocates General had reached different conclusions on those issues in their Opinions.

Continue Reading →