The Law: Speaking Out in Germany

Dissent is essential to an effective judiciary in a democratic society.

—Felix Frankfurter

More than 60% of all U.S. Supreme Court decisions are accompanied by dissenting opinions that routinely flay the majority's reasoning. By contrast, most European nations bar published judicial dissent as a threat to the authority of the law. Nowhere was this insistence on judicial orthodoxy more damaging than in Hitler's Germany, where disapproving judges had no official forum in which to voice their criticism of Nazi law.

Although legislation recently empowered Germany's highest court to publish dissents, the country's courts still tend to maintain the absolutist tradition. So it came as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!