Hans Herbert von Arnim

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Hans Herbert von Arnim (born November 16, 1939 in Darmstadt ) is a German constitutional lawyer and party critic . He teaches at the German University for Administrative Sciences in Speyer . He published various books on basic questions of state and society .


Hans Herbert von Arnim-Kröchlendorff was born as the son of a professional officer in Darmstadt , but grew up in Heidelberg after 1945 . He comes from a branch of the aristocratic Arnim family from the Mark Brandenburg . His great-great-grandmother Malwine von Bismarck was Otto von Bismarck's sister . His great-great-grandfather was Oskar von Arnim-Kröchlendorff .


After graduating from high school in 1958, von Arnim began studying law and economics in Heidelberg . He graduated with the first state examination in 1962 and the second state examination in 1967 , and in 1966 he also obtained a diploma in economics . In 1970 received his doctorate he "summa cum laude" with a thesis on The expiration of occupational pension entitlements in Heidelberg, which in 1972 a landmark decision of the Federal Labor Court resulted affected in favor of workers, which in the Betriebsrentengesetz found from 1975 input.

From 1968 to 1978 von Arnim was head of the Karl-Bräuer-Institute of the Federation of Taxpayers in Wiesbaden . In 1976 he completed his habilitation with the text Common Welfare and Group Interests. The weakness in asserting general interests in pluralistic democracy. A contribution to constitutional fundamental questions of economic order for Heads of State and Administrative Law , Finance and Tax Law at the University of Regensburg .

In 1978 von Arnim accepted a professorship at the Philipps University in Marburg . Since 1981 he has held the chair for public law , in particular local law , budget law and constitutional theory in Speyer (German University for Administrative Sciences Speyer). In 1988 he received a call to the chair of political science and policy at the University of Göttingen , which he declined. From 1993 to 1996 he was a member of the Brandenburg Constitutional Court and from 1993 to 1995 Rector of the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer. In 2000 and 2001, von Arnim was a visiting professor at the Medical University of Lübeck ; He has been retired since April 1, 2005, but continues to work at the Speyer University (since April 2012: University).

Research areas

Von Arnim dealt early on with the problems of national debt, inflationary currency devaluation, the control of administration and legislation, including the subsidy problem, as well as the responsible control institutions: the parliaments, the courts, the Bundesbank, the finance minister and the audit offices.

Acting as a political critic

Since the 1980s, von Arnim has appeared primarily as a party critic, who in a series of popular science publications and articles states that the state is being instrumentalized by the "political class" for their own purposes and calling for more direct democracy in the form of referendums and referendums .

His expert opinion on the diet increase in the Hessian state parliament in 1988 led to the withdrawal of the increase and the resignation of the state parliament president and his deputy.

An essay by Arnim on the municipal constitution of Baden-Wuerttemberg received a lot of attention from politicians in Schleswig-Holstein, which - together with the new federal states - initiated the reform of the municipal constitution in Germany.

In Hamburg in 1991 von Arnim criticized a draft law that was supposed to bring the parliamentary president and the parliamentary group chairmen a pension of 62% of their official salaries after they reached 55 years of age. After a heated discussion, Mayor Henning Voscherau stopped the law already passed by parliament with a veto . In the meantime, von Arnim had shown that the bill had taken part in a pension increase for senators that had been decided four years earlier. It was brought in as a matter of urgency in two hours through two committee and two plenary sessions of Parliament. This law was also withdrawn, even with retroactive effect. Robert Leicht wrote in Die Zeit that no one other than the Federal Constitutional Court had brought down as many laws as the Speyer professor.

In 1992, von Arnim unmasked a regulation in Saarland that could give government members the maximum pension after just one day of office. This law has also been repealed.

Another study by Arnim, which received a lot of media coverage, resulted in several other countries also removing inappropriate privileges of their ministers and prime ministers.

The attempt by the Bundestag to link its diets to the salaries of federal judges in 1995 and to amend the Basic Law to this end failed after von Arnim and 85 other constitutional law teachers appealed to the Bundesrat in an open letter to refuse to approve the constitutional amendment, which the also did.

In 2004 the European Parliament decided to increase its diets and provisions and also to give MPs from the eastern member states a home salary of 9,053 euros per month, which - because of the much lower income level there - would have received several times as much as their presidents. In Brussels, they are provided for with generous daily allowances anyway. After Arnims' criticism, which was picked up in the media, the federal government refused to give its approval in the council and the law failed. Criticism of the two EU MPs Martin Schulz and Karl-Heiner Lehne to von Arnim with incorrect information was forbidden to them by the Hamburg district court despite their parliamentary indemnity . A restricted version of the law came into force after the 2009 European elections.

In 1998 Arnim's book was Servants of Many Masters. The double and triple provision of politicians the Bavarian state government under Edmund Stoiber and the North Rhine-Westphalian government under Wolfgang Clement to restrict their financial status.

During the Wulff affair , von Arnim was often asked for an assessment by the media and gave his opinions there in statements and interviews. In an article published in the online edition of the Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht (NVwZ) at the beginning of 2012 , von Arnim also took the view that resignation of a Federal President due to personal (misconduct) behavior, i.e. for personal and not political reasons, would lead to this that there is no legal entitlement to the otherwise customary honorary pay .

In the middle of April 2013, von Arnim published his book The Self-Service. How Bavarian politicians prey on the state . This triggered the so-called relatives affair in Bavaria with the result that the state parliament - under pressure from the media - banned the employment of spouses, children and other relatives at state expense by changing the law in mid-May 2013. At the same time, the future publication of ancillary income for the Bavarian state parliament members was planned. The Bavarian Supreme Audit Office began with an audit. The CSU parliamentary group lowered the excessive allowances for their functionaries. According to von Arnim, this only clears up some of the problems dealt with in his book.

In September 2019 he was one of about 100 constitutional law teachers who, with the open appeal for the right to vote, Downsized the Bundestag! turned to the German Bundestag .

Von Arnim writes regularly for regional and national newspapers and magazines or is interviewed by them, for example from the taz to the Süddeutsche Zeitung , Die Welt , the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the Frankfurter Rundschau , the Focus , the Spiegel and the Tagesspiegel up to the Junge Freedom .

Influence on jurisprudence

With his writings, expert opinions and lawsuits, von Arnim also had an influence on the jurisprudence, for example on the diet ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court and on its party financing ruling from 1992.

Attention is also paid to those political forces that the parties in parliament regard as unpopular competitors and therefore often discriminate against them with their legislative measures. B. municipal constituencies and smaller parties. The Federal Constitutional Court has emphasized the important role of small parties in keeping the established parties on their toes in political competition in a ruling won by von Arnim for the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP).

Von Arnim's thesis developed that parliaments are biased when it comes to making decisions in their own right and therefore decisions on diets, party funding and the right to vote require increased scrutiny by the public and the constitutional courts themselves.

In 2010, von Arnim personally lodged a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court against the 2009 European elections . 530 citizens, including 30 constitutional lawyers, supported him with their signature. In it, he criticizes the five percent hurdle in elections to the European Parliament as unconstitutional because it not only disregards votes, but also benefits completely different parties and discriminates against small parties. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in favor of this lawsuit on November 9, 2011 and classified the five percent hurdle applicable in Germany in European elections as incompatible with the Basic Law, so that from the next European elections in 2014, voting in Germany without a threshold clause. In June 2013 the Bundestag decided - contrary to the warning from numerous constitutional law teachers in an appeal - a three percent clause in the European elections, against which it also successfully filed a lawsuit.

In June 2012 , von Arnim filed a complaint against the hidden party funding for the ÖDP with the Federal Constitutional Court (2 BvE 4/12). It is used to reprimand the covert party financing by the parliamentary groups and members of the Bundestag as well as by foundations affiliated with the party . The court dismissed the lawsuit on July 15, 2015 for formal reasons. An election challenge by Arnims regarding the 2013 federal election has been pending at the 2nd Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court since 2014, which in turn criticizes the unconstitutionality of the covert party financing, the excessive threshold clause in federal elections and the lack of an alternative vote.

In 2017 he failed with a lawsuit at the Federal Constitutional Court for the introduction of a contingent vote, but received approval from the court in matters of parliamentary staff and election campaign funding.

Criticism of von Arnim

Von Arnim made criticism of party funding and the financial resources of politicians acceptable. This in turn meets with criticism. For von Arnim, politics appear as a form of existence of greed and self-interest. Thus did so Matthias Krupa in the weekly Time , von Arnim not right: While the criticism in detail was correct, in the overall picture they THAT CONDITION grotesque. Von Arnim's theses are radical, he is dangerously approaching the style of those who despise the Weimar Republic and propagate “more people and more leadership”. Krupa's remarks related to von Arnim's book “Die Deutschlandakte”, which was on the bestseller lists for several months. Brandenburg politicians accused von Arnim of "an obviously disturbed relationship to the Basic Law and to [...] representative democracy in Germany" in connection with statements about the restructuring of the parliamentary system in the state of Brandenburg .

Some of Arnim's theses are described as sensational by many politicians and parts of science . Others, like Hans-Jochen Vogel , emphasized his educational role. The Süddeutsche Zeitung sees in a portrait of Arnim - depending on the perspective of the viewer - light and shadow.


  • Association of German constitutional law teachers
  • Board of Trustees of More Democracy
  • Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Ecology and Democracy
  • Board of Trustees of the Institute for German and European Party Law and Party Research

Publications (selection)


  • The forfeitability of company pension entitlements , Verlagsgesellschaft Recht und Wirtschaft, Heidelberg 1970, ISBN 3-8005-6167-0 .
  • Common good and group interests , Alfred Metzner, Frankfurt a. M. 1977, ISBN 3-7875-5258-8 .
  • Patronage of office by political parties No. 44 of the publications of the Karl-Bräuer-Institute of the Association of Taxpayers, Wiesbaden 1980
  • Party funding. A constitutional investigation , No. 52 of the writings of the Karl-Bräuer-Institute of the Federation of Taxpayers, Wiesbaden 1982, ISSN  0173-3397 .
  • State theory of the Federal Republic of Germany , Munich 1984, Vahlen, 536 + XXIV S., ISBN 3-8006-1024-8 .
  • Economic efficiency as a legal principle , Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-428-06435-6 .
  • State without servants: What do politicians care about the well-being of the people , Kindler, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-463-40224-6 .
  • Democracy without a people: plea against state failure, abuse of power and disenchantment with politics . Munich 1993, Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf., ISBN 3-426-80021-7 .
  • The state as prey: How politicians make laws on their own behalf . Knaur Verlag, Munich 1993, ISBN 978-3-426-80014-0 .
  • The party, the MP and the money: party financing in Germany , Munich 1996, Droemer Knaur, ISBN 3-426-80074-8 .
  • Fat belly doesn't like to rule. The political class - self-referential and aloof , Munich 1997, Kindler, ISBN 3-463-40323-4 .
  • Economics: An introduction (with the assistance of Hermann Knödler) , 6th edition, Luchterhand, Neuwied 1998, ISBN 3-472-00063-5 .
  • Servants of many masters: the double and triple supply of politicians , Munich 1998, Droemer Knaur, ISBN 3-426-77372-4 .
  • The system. The machinations of power , Munich 2001, Droemer Verlag, ISBN 978-3-426-77658-2 .
  • On the beautiful appearance of democracy: Politics without responsibility - past the people , Munich 2002, Droemer Knaur, ISBN 3-426-77538-7 .
  • The EU regulation on party financing (together with Martin Schurig), LIT-Verlag, Münster September 2004, ISBN 978-3-8258-8096-5 . Also in English: The European Party Financing Regulation , ISBN 978-3-8258-8097-2 .
  • The European plot: how EU officials sell our democracy , Munich, Vienna 2006, Hanser, ISBN 978-3-446-20726-4 . Also in Polish: Europejska Zmowa, ISBN 978-83-60562-37-6 .
  • The Germany Act. What politicians and business leaders are doing to our country , C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-442-15566-8 .
  • People's parties without a people. The failure of democracy , C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-570-10011-0 .
  • Second processing of Article 48 of the Basic Law (Members' Diets) in the Bonn Commentary, 1980; Third edition of Art. 48 GG in the Bonn Commentary, together with Thomas Drysch, CF Müller, Heidelberg 2010, 162 pages
  • The Breach of the Constitution: Prohibited Extra Diets - Gluttonous Fractions , March 15, 2011, Duncker & Humblot, ISBN 978-3-428-13606-3 .
  • Political parties in transition: Their development into anti-competitive state parties - and what follows from them , 2011, Duncker & Humblot, ISBN 978-3-428-13734-3 .
  • The self-service. How Bavarian politicians prey on the state , 2013, Heyne, ISBN 978-3-453-60301-1 .
  • The judges' fear of power , Lingen Verlag, Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3-945136-54-6 ; Kopp-Verlag, 2020, ISBN 978-3864457692 .
  • The levers of power and who uses them , Heyne Verlag 2017, ISBN 978-3-453-20142-2 .
  • The arrogance of power. The Baden-Württemberg Diet Coup , e-book, Heyne Verlag, 2017


Since 1997, von Arnim has been organizing the Speyer Democracy Conference every autumn at the German University of Administrative Sciences, the lectures of which are published in conference volumes and are published under the following titles:

The conference volumes are at Duncker and Humblot, Berlin, the book Korruption. Networks in politics, offices and business has been published as a paperback by Knaur, Munich.


Von Arnim has published over 150 articles in legal, economic and political science journals, commemorative publications and other collective works.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. Hans Herbert von Arnim in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely accessible)
  2. von Arnim, Grundprobleme der Staatsverschuldung , Bayerische Verwaltungsblätter 1981, pp. 514–523; von Arnim / Dagmar Weinberg, National Debt in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1986.
  3. von Arnim, The exploited monetary saver , Zeitschrift für Rechtssppolitik 1980, pp. 201-209. On this reply by the then Federal Minister of Finance, Hans Matthöfer, Problems of indexing monetary claims , Zeitschrift für Rechtssppolitik 1980, pp. 325–326; Duplicate of the tax and finance lawyer and then chairman of the Association of German Constitutional Law Teachers Klaus Vogel, Der battered Saver and the Federal Minister of Finance , Zeitschrift für Rechtssppolitik 1981, pp. 35–36.
  4. von Arnim, Basic Questions of Control of Legislation and Administration , The Public Administration 1982, pp. 917–926.
  5. von Arnim, Subsidies. From the difficulties of subsidy control , Financial Archives NF Vol. 23, 1986, pp. 51-63.
  6. von Arnim, On the “materiality theory” of the Federal Constitutional Court , Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 1987, pp. 1241–1249.
  7. von Arnim, Die Deutsche Bundesbank. Pillar of Democracy , Journal for Economic Policy 1988, pp. 51–63.
  8. von Arnim, About Tasks and Allies of the Association of Taxpayers , in: Festschrift for Günter Schmölders on his 75th birthday, 1978, pp. 29–56.
  9. von Arnim, basic problems of financial control , Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 1983, pp. 664–675. Thereupon reply by the President of the Federal Audit Office Karl Wittrock, Basic Problems of Financial Control, Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 1983, pp. 883–886.
  10. Hans Herbert von Arnim: State without servants. What do politicians care about the well-being of the people? Munich 1993, p. 337; ders .: About the beautiful appearance of democracy. Politics without responsibility, ignoring the people. Munich 2000, p. 272 ​​ff.
  11. Not durable . In: Der Spiegel . No. 26 , 1988, pp. 20-23 ( online - 27 June 1988 ). Also: knife in the back . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1989, pp. 67-69 ( Online - Feb. 13, 1989 ).
  12. ^ Von Arnim, possibilities of direct democracy at community level , Public Administration 1990, pp. 85–97.
  13. Hans-Peter Bull, Contradiction to the Mainstream. A law professor in politics , Berlin 2012, p. 216.
  14. Matthias Naß: "Pugs for very few people" , in: Die Zeit from January 2, 1992, p. 3.
  15. Robert Leicht: As a one-man instance against the parties , in: Die Zeit from January 2, 1992, p. 2.
  16. The Cover-Up Cartel . In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 1992, pp. 26-33 ( Online - May 11, 1992 , cover story).
  17. von Arnim, The Financial Privileges of Ministers in Germany , No. 74 of the series of publications by the Karl-Bräuer-Institute of the Federation of Taxpayers, Wiesbaden 1992.
  18. daily press of July 23, 1992; Stern of July 23, 1992; ZDF's “Zündstoff” broadcast from July 22, 1992.
  19. Von Arnim: The new law on representatives. Content, procedure, criticism and misleading the public , Speyer research reports No. 169, 2nd edition, Speyer, 1997.
  20. Hartmut Palmer: Master of the veiling . In: Der Spiegel . No. 3 , 2004, p. 28 f . ( online - January 12, 2004 ).
  21. Von Arnim: Euro 9053 salary for MEPs. The dispute over the European Members ' Statute, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-428-11534-1 , p. 63.
  22. Court threatens EU politicians with two years of regular detention , in: picture from March 1, 2004, p. 1.
  23. One day after Arnim's criticism, Stoiber announced cuts in the covers. Cabinet should earn less , in: Nürnberger Nachrichten of May 7, 1998, p. 21.
  24. Manuel Bewarder , Jörg Eigendorf, Sebastian Jost, Marc Neller & Karsten Seibel: 500,000 euro credit: Constitutional law experts accuse Wulff of violating the law. In: The world . December 16, 2011, accessed January 14, 2012 .
  25. Why the Federal President cannot resign, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht Online - Extra, Edition 4/2012, pp. 1–4 ( Memento from May 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 86 kB)
  26. von Arnim, Der Ehrensold des President , in: Mainhardt Graf Nayhauß (Ed.): Megalomania and Politics , Lingen Verlag, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-941118-95-9 , pp. 58–59.
  27. a b Law amending the Bavarian Members' Act of May 22, 2013.
  28. Interview with the President of the Court of Auditors, Bayerische Staatszeitung, May 17, 2013.
  29. Frank Müller, CSU MPs miss new rules , Süddeutsche Zeitung from June 12, 2013.
  30. Call for the right to vote: "Verkleinert den Bundestag" , open letter from September 20, 2019 in Die Welt .
  31. Hans Herbert von Arnim: So much haste makes mistrustful , comment in the taz of July 7, 2011.
  32. Sarina Märschel: That is the arrogance of power , interview in the SZ on May 17, 2010.
  33. Von Arnim: Who the people really want , in: Die Welt from June 24, 2010.
  34. ^ "When it comes to money, the parliamentary groups hang out" , Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung of April 14, 2011, p. 13.
  35. Von Arnim: Die Dietliege , in: Frankfurter Rundschau of May 16, 2008.
  36. ^ Von Arnim: Hundertfacher Rechtsbruch , in: Focus from March 28, 2008.
  37. "Towards the State". Interview about state subsidies for parliamentary groups . In: Der Spiegel . No. 43 , 2011, p. 16 ( online - October 24, 2011 ).
  38. Von Arnim: Party financing - a violation of the Basic Law . In: Tagesspiegel from July 1, 2012.
  39. ^ Von Arnim, Am Volk over , Junge Freiheit, July 16, 2011.
  40. Judgment of November 5, 1975, Az. 2 BvR 193/74; BVerfGE 40, 296. On this, von Arnim, Compensation for Members and the Basic Law, No. 32 of the writings of the Karl-Bräuerinstitut des Bund der Steuerpayers, Wiesbaden 1975. On the influence of this publication on the judgment: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of October 31, 1975, p. 1 u. 5.
  41. ^ Judgment of April 9, 1992, Az. 2 BvE 2/89; BVerfGE 85, 264. On this, von Arnim, Die neuespartfinanzierung , No. 74 of the publications of the Karl-Bräuer-Institute of the Federation of Taxpayers, Wiesbaden 1989. On the influence of this publication on the judgment: Friedhelm Boyken, Die neuespartfinanzierung , Baden-Baden 198, p. 144 and 231. See also Kai Hermann, Alone Against the Raffia , in: Stern from April 15, 1992, pp. 18-24.
  42. von Arnim, On the exclusion of municipal voter communities from tax, donation and contribution privileges, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 1985, pp. 1005-1007. On this judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of June 21, 1988: BVerfGE 78, 350. See also von Arnim, Are communal voter communities discriminated against in competition? , Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 1999, pp. 417-425.
  43. von Arnim, The untenability of the five percent clause in local elections after the reform of the local constitution , in: Festschrift for Klaus Vogel on his 70th birthday, 2000, pp. 453–463. Federal Constitutional Court of February 13, 2008: BVerfGE 120, 82.
  44. BVerfGE 111, 382.
  45. von Arnim, Compensation for Members of Parliament and Basic Law , 1975, pp. 70 ff .; von Arnim, political party financing , 1982, p. 46 ff .; von Arnim, Political Financing, Suffrage and Legislative Manipulation - Strict Court Control in Political Decisions in Own Matters , in: Festschrift for Martin Kriele on his 65th birthday, Munich 1997, p. 627 ff.
  46. So BVerfGE 40, 296 (327).
  47. So BVerfGE 85, 264.
  48. So BVerfGE 120, 82 (108); also decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of November 9, 2011, Az. 2 BvC 4/10, para. 82.
  49. Europe: election contested . In: Der Spiegel . No.  37 , 2010, p. 17 ( online - September 13, 2010 ).
  50. ↑ The five percent clause in European elections is unconstitutional . In: Spiegel Online from November 8, 2011
  51. Printed in: “The court has decided”. Appeal against the introduction of a three percent hurdle in the European elections . In: Der Spiegel . No. 23 , 2013, p. 15 ( online - June 3, 2013 ).
  52. ^ ÖDP sued against the hidden party funding . On: www.oedp.de (accessed on July 24, 2012)
  53. http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2015/07/es20150715_2bve000412.html Decision of July 15, 2015 - 2 BvE 4/12
  54. https://jungefreiheit.de/politik/deutschland/2017/von-arnim-scheitert-mit-klage-gegen-bundestagswahlrecht/ Junge Freiheit - Von Arnim fails with lawsuit against federal election law - Query: August 2, 2019
  55. See e.g. B. Robert Leicht : As a one-man instance against the parties , in: The time of January 3, 1992.
  56. ^ Matthias Krupa: A German professor. The party critic Hans Herbert von Arnim radicalises himself and promotes contempt for democracy. The time No. 23/2008 of May 29, 2008.
  57. ↑ Stick to the facts. Märkische Allgemeine from February 15, 2006.
  58. Hans Hugo Klein : Commentary on Article 21 of the Basic Law. In: Theodor Maunz, Günter Dürig: Basic Law. Comment. Loose-leaf work. 63. Supplementary delivery. CH Beck, Munich 2011, Rn. 195. On Hans Hugo Klein, a long-time member of the Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary of the CDU, see also von Arnim, Der Verfassungsbruch , Berlin 2011, p. 16 ff.
  59. Hans-Jochen Vogel: Legitimation of the parliaments to decide on their own cause , lecture at the symposium of the German Society for Legislation and the Landtag Rhineland-Palatinate on June 26, 1992 in Mainz
  60. Sebastian Gierke: "Politicians should suffer from the laws that they pass" , Süddeutsche Zeitung of June 25, 2013.
  61. http://www.stiftung-oekologie-u-demokratie.de/w/kuratorium-2/
  62. All specialist publications ( Memento of August 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Online at www.dhv-speyer.de.