Hiring Google freshmen in India

Around the world in 100 years: ten stories of law


The world is reflected in stories of law. We cover a wide range from the salt tax in India to US constitutional law and the right to vote in Appenzell. Also there: the BGH, works councils and a taxi to Leipzig.

Some believe that the 1920s are particularly interesting from today's perspective, because in that decade we can find processes that are similar to those of the present.

But let's not hope so. We haven't had a world war behind us, the Basic Law will soon be as old as the Empire, Weimar Republic and the Nazi state put together. And hopefully we will not have to experience a stock market crash like the one in 1929.

This legal historical pictorial sheet would rather indicate the strange proximity of a random selection of topics: There are only ten years between one of the deadliest demonstrations in the history of Berlin and the shrewd tax protest of India and again only ten years between this resistance against the, born of poverty British colonial rulers and the most prominent example of franchise law, which we all probably associate with a few pounds too much on our hips (not our own, of course).

There is hardly any time lag between the mourning of the Reichsgericht and the dawn of German nuclear utopias. The US suffered from an archaic suffrage system in 2000? Some Swiss women will have given the Americans a pitying look.

At the beginning of the year, we hope you enjoy this review!

1920: Works councils, the first step into Bolshevism?

The question of whether the workers and employees should decide for themselves in the future about the values ​​that they generated through their activities, or whether at best it should result in participation in the conditions in the company of the person who held the ownership of the intellectual and physical capital required for this, brought up the Berliners of 1920.

The question is too complicated, nobody wants to read it again? That's right, the Berliners must have thought similarly at the time. At stake was the Works Council Act, which the National Assembly discussed.

The radical left wing of the labor movement actually wanted Soviet or at least socialist control over factories or capital. The law itself, which was in force between 1920 and 1934, was intended to formulate a rather brave preliminary stage of today's corporate co-determination law. Even that was too much for some employers.

By order of January 14, 1920, Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske (SPD, 1868–1946) ordered a ban on public meetings for Berlin and the surrounding communities. Anyone who undertakes to disturb in the vicinity of the Reichstag building will be prevented from doing so "right from the start by the ruthless use of weapons".

There had been a taste of this idea of ​​defensive representative democracy the day before. The interplay between the poorly organized police and the poorly prepared demonstration killed between 20 and 40 people in front of the Reichstag building from the use of firearms.

1930: Tax protest, easy to understand

In this country, table salt has been a thorn in the side of the nutritionists appointed by the radio and the press to educate the public about health for so long that its vital function has been neglected in many cases. Quite a few consider it primarily a type of toxin.

In agricultural societies, especially those in which many poor people eat almost exclusively grain and vegetables, but especially for their herbivorous cattle, this salt was and is an indispensable substance.

Accordingly, the monopoly on the manufacture and sale of salt, which the British East India Company, a British public-private partnership for the subjugation and exploitation of the Indian subcontinent, claimed for itself, contributed significantly to the revenues of this company.

Nothing changed when the British state took over power from the company in 1858. Up to ten percent of the income of the British administration in India is said to have resulted from this so-called salt tax. In order to enforce the salt monopoly, the British India legislature authorized the police and tax authorities with unlimited search rights.

In his double qualification as apostle of the then international vegetarian movement and as a lawyer in South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948), known as Mahatma, declared the salt monopoly to be a key issue in Indian emancipation efforts against British colonial rule as early as the 1890s.

In 1930 there was the famous Salt March, in which the scooping of salt from the sea as a grand gesture of protest was not only against the rule of the British tax law in India. German tax lawyers know: With references to the sparkling wine tax or the obscure taxpayer commemoration day you get a lot of attention in this country. The only thing missing is a Richard Attenborough to film it.

1940: Not appetizing, but ingenious

In the life of all freshmen of law, the moment comes when a civil law scholar explains with sad eyes that many of the economically important contract models in the German Civil Code (BGB) are not regulated in one piece.

In addition to the leasing contract, the franchise contract is usually cited as an example of constructs that defy very direct dogmatic access and scrutiny in the context of initial subsumption exercises. Students then may not know whether they should be happy about it or whether they should fear the complexity of such contracts that will later have to be mastered.

The McDonald's company was founded on May 15, 1940, as the franchisor that was to become the international touchstone of this corporate and contract model.

There is an economically ingenious concept behind the "mixed contract": The end customer can be sold fast-food restaurant products whose taste and nutritional values ​​are vulnerable, but whose hygienic quality they can trust. Because the violation of essential product standards would lead to the franchisee being excluded in order to protect the brand. If the tourist catches a bowel disease in the idyllic restaurant at the pilgrimage site, the risk for the chef is limited. In the franchise business, on the other hand, he writes his notice of termination if he all too often forgets to wash his hands between the personal toilet and the stove.

The scrutiny scheme for the contracts may be complicated. Economic judiciary is not. Franchise contract networks have become correspondingly successful in the modern market economy. The international distribution of relatively uniform products makes it possible to use the Big Mac Index for a handy comparison of purchasing power. For a private company, this is a remarkable achievement.

1950: The BGH begins its work

As is well known, it was in keeping with Konrad Adenauer's wishes that the federal government was not settled in Frankfurt am Main in 1949, but in tranquil Bonn. He was uncomfortable with the thought of dealing with the SPD-led Hessen in red Frankfurt.

In the case of the Federal Court of Justice, Adenauer did not get his will. On May 12, 1950, a majority of the Federal Cabinet voted in favor of setting up the BGH in Cologne, where Adenauer had been mayor between 1917 and 1933 and where the Supreme Court for the British Zone had its seat until 1950. However, the Bundestag voted for Karlsruhe, which the Federal Minister of Justice, Thomas Dehler (1897–1967), was very happy about for reasons of southern German regional patriotism.

The extent to which its first president, Hermann Weinkauff (1894–1981), who himself had served as Reich judge, was shaped by the idea that the BGH should work in the tradition of the Reich Court, is illustrated by his speech at the opening ceremony of the new court - coined probably on the former colleagues collectively imprisoned in the GDR:

"However, we still lack brothers who should have their place in our midst. We will not forget them. We think of them. Nobody would be happier than us if they could soon work with us on common German law. [...] The The overall performance of the Reichsgericht was undisputedly significant.

Whole libraries can be filled today with contradicting this solemn declaration.

1960: Shining into the future

"My God, if we get nuclear power! Then the men don't have to drive into the mines anymore."

On January 1, 1960, the "Law on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy and Protection against its Dangers (Atomic Energy Act)" of December 23, 1959 came into force, which in its original form corresponded to the tradition of German technology legislation that went back to the 19th century: The definition of its regulatory purposes, i.e. the utilization of a technological possibility and protection against its potential dangers, was followed by the naming of the regulated substances ("nuclear fuels", "raw materials") and the regulatory areas - storage and transport, plant approval and trade law, state supervision and limitation of liability - a very slim law with 59 paragraphs.

While in 1957 Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967) envisioned equipping the Bundeswehr with nuclear weapons as a kind of "further development of artillery" against which an effective opposition by German nuclear physicists was formed, the law formulated the "peaceful use of nuclear energy" not only broad social consensus, but also an occasion for the most beautiful hopes.

The SPD expected the miner to be freed from the tunnel. Furthermore, there was nothing across party lines that nuclear power could not do - ships and locomotives would run on nuclear power, artificial suns would help thaw the hideous ice of the Arctic and make the tundra usable for agriculture.

Since then, people like to make fun of it. The Atomic Energy Act today stipulates "an orderly end to the use of nuclear energy for the commercial generation of electricity".

When the protest against nuclear energy grew into a political mass movement in the 1970s, to which this amendment to the law is ultimately owed, its critics, such as the futurologist Robert Jungk (1913–1994), described the "atomic state" as a social order derived from nature the matter would never be able to get out of active use of nuclear fuel again. The debate no longer has this level of reflection today.

1970: The RAF in a taxi to Leipzig

The liberation of the terrorist Andreas Baader (1943–1977), who was sentenced to three years in prison for arson in two Frankfurt department stores, on May 14, 1970 is considered the founding date of the Red Army Faction (RAF). It was favored by the liberal attitude of the Berlin penitentiary system, which Baader had allowed a visit to the library accompanied by judicial officers to supposedly work on a book.

What followed in the way of reactions to the crimes of the RAF ended all prospects for a staid old liberal Federal Republic in the long term. In Bern and Zurich, top politicians and bank managers may still ride the trams today, but in Bonn in the 1970s it had to be armored vehicles.

A constitutional state, thought to be defensible, gave German society such dubious institutes as an extensive advertising ban for terrorist organizations, which could register the visit of state security police officers to every school newspaper editor if he had published an "RAF star" even with documentary intent - at least that was the case the firm belief in many high schools in the 1980s. Heinrich Böll received a foretaste of a disgusting discussion culture for which later generations had to invent Twitter, and with the contact blocking legislation, the republic showed poor self-confidence.

What the republic lost about left-wing extremist terror and the apologetic chatter among the schoolchildren and students in the old liberal Biedermeier, it made up for in the area of ​​popular depiction of crime: In November 1970, "Taxi to Leipzig" was the first episode of the "crime scene" "on the ARD broadcaster. To this day, the series hinders any legally and socially-scientifically enlightened approach to bring an enlightened understanding of deviant behavior among the people by reproducing the firm belief that it is already doing it.

1980: "Failed" instead of "shattered"

According to a widespread opinion, rape or sexual assault in marriage remained unpunished until 1997. As is well known, the legislature deleted the feature "out of wedlock" from the relevant criminal offenses. Whether this reform has made a decisive contribution to eliminating the illusion of a lawless private sphere can be discussed in different ways.

On the other hand, the reasonably historically decisive step towards the dissolution of violent intimate relationships is valued remarkably low: the introduction of the principle of break-up in German divorce law and its approval by the Federal Constitutional Court on February 28, 1980 (Az. 1 BvL 136/78 and others).

Until the new divorce law came into force on July 1, 1977, divorce was only possible after adultery or a similar misconduct as well as after a breakdown, which, however, a) culpably caused and b) destroyed the prospects that the fundamentally mandatory lifelong marriage would continue could be.

Since July 1, 1977, it was sufficient if the marriage had "failed", that is, if the cohabitation had dissolved and its restoration could no longer be expected.

Contemporary observers did not take it for granted that the Federal Constitutional Court would approve this in 1980. In 1978, for example, the judges annulled the regulation of conscientious objection by means of a simple declaration - in the so-called postcard procedure - because the Basic Law did not provide for a simple choice between the types of service. They were trusted to see the sanctity of the marriage recommended in Article 6 Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law for "special protection" by the state violated by an all too simple divorce option.

The constitutional judges found, however, that the replacement of the old guilty principle with the new principle of disruption took sufficient account of the idea of ​​a marriage that is basically for life. In view of the persistent mendacity with which grounds for divorce had previously been invented under the old law, the court would probably have made a different decision completely impossible.

It is strange that the breakdown principle, when it comes to preventing violence in marriage, is not mentioned at least as often as the amendment to the criminal rape law that took place 20 years later. Well, that's not a higher sociology of law.

1990: Direct democracy in Switzerland, now also for women

Every last Sunday in April, the residents of the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden - total population today around 16,000 people - are allowed to take part in direct legislation and administration by the people.

While the more populous cantons of Switzerland organize their legislation and administration through representatives of the people, albeit - similar to the states and municipalities of the USA - supplemented by pronounced direct legislation by means of referendums, Appenzell Innerrhoden maintains a ritual of direct legislation by the people themselves - but until 1991 without the participation of the Appenzell women.

At the level of the Confederation, women's suffrage was not introduced until 1971 through a referendum (of men), which was quite late in the European comparison. In France this was done in 1944, in Germany in 1918. Incidentally, women's suffrage has not experienced a blemish-free history of progress. For the first US Senator Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton (1835–1930), for example, it was considered a means to put the vocal power of African American men in their place through those 'white' women.

But when the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled on November 27, 1990 that, with a view to the constitution of the canton and that of the Confederation, women also had "political rights in the canton of Appenzell I.Rh." it ended an archaic legal status, according to the unanimous opinion of all civilized nations - even if the Appenzeller still enjoy the advantage over the Appenzeller women of being able to identify themselves as eligible to vote not only with a disdainful voting card, but also with a neat voting saber.

2000: Too stupid to organize elections?

The election of George W. Bush (1946–) as 43rd President of the USA and Dick Cheney (1941–) as Vice President was finally decided in 2000 in court.

Almost exactly 51 million votes were cast nationwide for the candidate of the Democratic Party, the previous Vice President Albert Gore (1948–), while only 50.5 million voters voted for George W. Bush.

As is well known, the US President is not elected directly by the people, but by the electors of the Electoral College. Each state has as many electors as it sends representatives to the House of Representatives and the US Senate. Because the seats in the House of Representatives are distributed among the states according to their population, but each state holds at least one seat and also two seats in the Senate, seven countries with a low population alone have three electoral votes each (corresponding to their two senators and one representative).

This overweighting of the low-populated states is therefore provided for by the constitution. One may consider this alone to be undemocratic. It is much more problematic, however, that the electors are regularly forced to choose the presidential candidate for whom they ran, even if it is a figure incapable of satisfactory from the standpoint of honor. This is basically a travesty of the principle of representation that the US Constitutional Fathers - wig wearers who duel pistols - probably hardly had in mind.

However, the problem that, on the one hand, many votes are systematically allowed to fall under the table at the federal level, but in the individual state could overturn narrow results under the eyes of the general public, has only recently become more common. In 2000, in Florida, which was the decisive factor between the candidates with 25 electoral votes, the difference in votes was only 500 under certain circumstances.

The decisions of the U.S. The Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Florida and the Florida official responsible for the formal legitimation of the count are complex. Ultimately, the U.S. The Supreme Court blesses a formally concluded, but materially but possibly wrong, election result. An exclusion of the electoral votes of Florida as a whole - as a sanction for a dubious process in the counting - was not operated.

In order to prevent such entanglements, in addition to the largely hopeless abolition of the Electoral College, a regulation is being considered according to which the states undertake to instruct their electors to elect the candidate for president who received the most votes nationwide, even if he received them in missed its own state.

2010: The mother of all waves of outrage online

It is an interesting exercise, for example, to test one's relatives equipped with smartphones late in life for the ability to deal intellectually honestly with the problem of cognitive dissonance: Quite a few who nowadays take the services of Google Street View as a matter of course when planning their vacation trip fall back, possibly even complain that it is only available for very few German cities - and there only with considerable pixelation - ten years ago they were in the process of violating their rights in the worst possible way through panoramic images of the streets and squares of their home town see.

If you missed the fact that you recognized Teufelswerk in the camera vehicles of the American company in 2010, you will find what you are looking for in countless legal considerations of this year, which, although not cursed, checked them for legal problems as if they were a serious threat to the warmth of the German nest.

Consideration was given, for example, to whether the street space was to be used for special purposes or at least for the common use. The Federal Council approved a draft law called "Lex Google" which wanted to make the online public of the image-based and geographically assignable road space model dependent on the consent of the owner, tenant or other person concerned.

The Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (CSU, 1956–) spoke out against the contradiction solution established by the company itself, which was supposed to effectively prepare today's pixel mash from the published images of German cities, among other things because the deadline set by Google was the intended one The release of the pictures fell during the vacation time of too many Bavarians and raised concerns about data protection.

Nine years later, for example, in the judgment of the Berlin Court of Appeal on January 31, 2019 (Az. 22 U 211/16) there is a reference to the fact that Google Street View can prove the absence of a traffic light for cyclists (strange: either the cameras are there come around again or you are leisurely building traffic lights in Berlin) which, let's say, but speaks in favor of the fact that the panorama pictures could have been carefree in everyday culture had a little less circus been made around them in 2010.