The Federal Constitutional Court will announce today its decision on the urgent request by the AfD parliamentary group to vote against Stephan Brandner, the chairman of the Bundestag legal committee. The AfD wants to cancel his deselection and bring Brandner back into office. The party describes the deselection as unlawful and unconstitutional.
In November 2019, Brandner was voted out of office in a procedure that was previously unique in the Bundestag, with votes from all parliamentary groups except the alternative for Germany. One of the reasons for this was Brandner's anti-Semitic statements. For example, on Twitter he called the Federal Cross of Merit for the singer Udo Lindenberg "Judaslohn".
Union, SPD, Greens and FDP then unanimously called for Brandner's removal. The parliamentary manager of the Green Group, Britta Haßelmann, tweeted: "The man is unworthy of a chairman of the legal committee and unbearable in this role." The FDP parliamentary director, Marco Buschmann, accused Brandner of repeatedly playing with anti-Semitic prejudices - it was Brandner's second statement that caused demands for resignation. After the attack in Halle, he had negated the perpetrator's anti-Semitic motif in a tweet.
According to the rules of procedure of the Bundestag, the committees elect their chairmen themselves, in accordance with the "Agreements in the Council of Elders". After an appointment between the parliamentary groups, the AfD is entitled to head the legal committee. A change in the rules of procedure was discussed because of Brandner's deselection, but was then not considered necessary.
Since its dismissal, the committee has been headed by its Deputy Chairman Heribert Hirte (CDU). The AfD has so far not identified any new candidates from among its ranks.
Urgent decision, the actual procedure is still ongoing
For the time being, the judges of the Second Senate only dealt with the urgent application. The AfD Brandner wants to bring back to the chair before the next Bundestag election. The judges have not yet examined the facts in depth in the urgent procedure. To put it simply, the question is whether the AfD will suffer irreparable disadvantages before the actual decision is made.
In the main proceedings, the parliamentary group filed a so-called organ lawsuit against the Bundestag and the legal committee. With this application, the AfD wants the judges to determine that Brandner's dismissal was unconstitutional.