It was implied.

On June 19, 2020, the administrative court in Karlsruhe declared that it was fundamentally responsible for deciding on the administrative actions of the Federal Constitutional Court in response to inquiries from journalists.

This went unnoticed and has not hurt the guardians of the Basic Law so far.

Their decisions went unchallenged.

But now there is a defeat, and this with an announcement.

Press office drove it too colorful

The press office of the Constitutional Court, whose friendliness and willingness to provide information has fluctuated greatly in recent years (as the author of these lines knows from his own experience), played too colorfully with a journalist from the "Bild" newspaper.

Lydia Rosenfelder wanted to know more details from the constitutional court about the joint dinner of the judges with Angela Merkel and some federal ministers on June 30, 2021. However, the constitutional court is very silent when it comes to its own administrative activities, perhaps because it sees itself as the highest authority of the state, maybe also , because their own administration is not as flawless as one would expect.

The latter is indeed the case, as we now know thanks to a report by the legal publication LTO.

There, a decision of June 14 is cited with relish, in which the administrative court told the constitutional court that it should have answered Rosenfelder's questions.

What happened instead?

The constitutional court repeatedly wrote to the journalist that it referred to previous correspondence.

A perfidious move, writes LTO editor-in-chief Felix W. Zimmermann: “This formulation became the standard answer with which the court let the journalist's questions come to nothing again and again.

Your questions were not answered, nor was it explained why there was no answer; instead, reference was made to previous correspondence that had nothing to do with the questions.” Particularly Kafkaesque: Also to the question

The constitutional judges would have thrown such a kidding of journalists around the ears of every small district court.

Freedom of the press is rightly held in high esteem in Karlsruhe.

Just not in your own house.

For this reason, an administrative court had to remind the Federal Constitutional Court of the Basic Law (file number: Karlsruhe Administrative Court, June 19, 2020, 3 K 11632/18. Karlsruhe Administrative Court, June 14, 2022, 4 K 233/22).

In the meantime, the journalist Rosenfelder has received, among other things, a copy of a letter from President Stephan Harbarth to Angela Merkel.

This was not in the manual files handed over to "Bild" for the meal date because, according to the constitutional authorities, it had been incorrectly sorted due to an office mistake.

Luckily, Rosenfelder knew about the letter because she had looked at the files of the Federal Chancellery in the meantime.

There you can still file properly.

Having confidence in the Constitutional Court is good.

From now on, however, control is also possible.

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