The Constitutional Court usually speaks with one voice. There may have been heated discussions and a tight decision internally when it came to their decisions, but in the end only the result is presented.
A draft law for the government’s freedom of information, which was sent for assessment on Tuesday, could change that in the future: It should be allowed for a judge who has voted against the opinion of the majority to present his arguments in the written decision – the so called “dissenting opinion”.
In several European countries this has long been used in the supreme courts, in Austria the turquoise-green plan is controversial.
VfGH President Christoph Grabenwarter reported on Tuesday in the ZiB2 to say: “I was always skeptical about the proposal, and during the time I worked here, the skepticism has increased,” he says.
The 14 judges “work as a college of independent lawyers with the aim of making joint, uniform decisions that citizens can use for orientation,” said Grabenwarter.
Jabloner fears “politicization of the VfGH”
Former Justice Minister and ex-High Court President Clemens Jabloner also feared that the opposing opinion could spark public debates. He recalls that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (in the wake of the criticism of the Corona regulations) spoke disparagingly of “legal subtleties”.
If it becomes clear from a finding of the highest court that there would have been a different argumentation, then that would probably lead to considerations of a party-political assignment of the judges.
“This strategy would initiate the politicization of the VfGH, which I am against,” emphasizes Jabloner.