Horst Dreier

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Horst Dreier

Horst Dreier (born September 7, 1954 in Hanover ) is a German lawyer and legal philosopher . Since 1995 he has been teaching at the University of Würzburg . From 2001 to 2007 he was a member of the National Ethics Council .


Horst Dreier studied law at the University of Hanover from 1975 to 1981 . He then moved to the University of Würzburg , where he worked as an assistant to Hasso Hofmann and in 1985 with a thesis on the legal theorist Hans Kelsen to become a Dr. jur. received his doctorate . In 1989, Hofmann also completed his habilitation in the subjects of public law, legal theory and administrative sciences with a thesis on hierarchical administration in a democratic state . From 1989 to 1991 Dreier was a representative of chairs in Würzburg and Heidelberg , and in 1990 he was appointed to the C3 professorship in “Public Law” at Heidelberg University. From 1991 to 1995 Dreier held the chair for “Public Law and Administrative Doctrine” at the Faculty of Law at the University of Hamburg , and since 1995 he has been Professor of Legal Philosophy, Constitutional and Administrative Law at the Law Faculty of the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Dreier is a member of the SPD .


From 1996 to 2001 Dreier was a liaison professor at the German National Academic Foundation and since the winter semester 1999/2000 he has been a DFG expert reviewer in the field of "Legal and State Philosophy". Since 2000 he has been a member of the scientific board of trustees of FEST ( Research Center of the Evangelical Study Community eV). In 2001 he was appointed a member of the National Ethics Council by resolution of the Federal Cabinet , and in 2003 he was also elected Chairman of the Association of German Constitutional Law Teachers.

In January 2008 Dreier was nominated as a candidate of the SPD to succeed Winfried Hassemer as judge at the Federal Constitutional Court . As Hassemer's successor, if the election had been successful, he would probably have also become Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court. Since Dreier was accused of considering the legality of torture to be debatable in certain extreme cases in his commentary on Article 1 of the Basic Law (GG) , his nomination was criticized.

In his commentary on Article 1 of the Basic Law, Dreier first states that the guarantee of Article 1 of the Basic Law cannot be weighed up against other values ​​of constitutional status (marginal no. 132) and, according to the prevailing opinion, this also applies to the situation in police torture of the alleged perpetrator being used to protect the life of a kidnapped victim. In the following marg. 133, Dreier explains that this absolute priority of human dignity does not help if it can be brought up on both sides and state organs are confronted with two legal obligations, both of which follow from Art. 1 GG. Dreier does not give a “solution” for this case, but only says in the following sentence that when assessing such cases, “the legal idea of ​​the justifying conflict of duties should not be excluded from the outset”. He is referring to an essay by his student, the Münster lawyer Fabian Wittreck , in which he advocates “preventive police torture” to protect the human dignity of kidnap victims.

After something that was rated by Welt Online as a "campaign by the CDU and the Catholic Church that damaged its reputation", the CDU announced that it would block Dreier's election in the Federal Council because of the alleged relativization of the ban on torture and its views on embryo protection. Nevertheless, Dreier also received support from various camps. The election planned for February 15, 2008 in the Federal Council has been postponed. On April 17, 2008, the SPD withdrew Dreier as a candidate and instead named the Freiburg lawyer Andreas Vosskuhle the next day .

honors and awards

Horst Dreier received various awards for his work. In 2000 he was awarded a “Prize for Good Teaching” by the Bavarian State Minister for Science, Research and Art , and in 2002 he was awarded the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria .

In 2003 Dreier was elected a full member of the Philosophical-Historical Class of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . In 2007 he was accepted into the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina .

Selected publications

  • Legal studies, state sociology and theory of democracy with Hans Kelsen , Nomos, Baden-Baden 1986 (dissertation), ISBN 3-7890-1211-4 .
  • Hierarchical administration in a democratic state. Genesis, current importance and functional limits of a building principle of the executive , Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1991.
  • Dimensions of fundamental rights , Hennies u. Zinkeisen, Hanover 1993.
  • (Ed.) Basic Law Commentary , Vol. 1 (Art. 1–19) , 1996; Vol. 2 (Art. 20-82) , 1998; Vol. 3 (Art. 83-146) , Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2000 (co-author).
  • Protection of fundamental rights by the state constitutional courts , de Gruyter, Berlin 2000.
  • German constitutional law in the time of National Socialism , de Gruyter, Berlin 2001.
  • (with Wolfgang Huber ) Bioethics and human dignity. Ethics & Society , lit, Münster 2002.
  • (Ed.) Festschrift 50 Years of the Federal Constitutional Court , Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2001 (together with Peter Badura ).
  • (Ed.) Space and Law. Anniversary publication 600 years of the Würzburg Faculty of Law , Duncker a. Humblot, Berlin 2002 (together with Hans Forkel and Klaus Laubenthal).
  • Secularization and sacredness. The self-image of the modern constitutional state. With comments by Christian Hillgruber and Uwe Volkmann. Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-16-152962-7 .
  • Bioethics. Politics and Constitution. Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2013, ISBN 978-316-15260-8-4 .
  • Idea and shape of the free constitutional state. Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-16-153486-7 .
  • Constitutional law in democracy and dictatorship. Studies on the Weimar Republic and National Socialism. Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-16-154764-5 .
  • State without God. Religion in Secular Modernism , CH Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-406-71871-7 .

In addition, Horst Dreier is co-editor of the journal The Public Administration and the Journal for Legislation. Quarterly journal for state and municipal legislation as well as the Würzburg lectures on legal philosophy, legal theory and legal sociology .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Federal Constitutional Court: Pragmatiker becomes new Vice President , in: Spiegel Online , January 12, 2008.
  2. Dreier, in: ders., Basic Law Commentary , Vol. 1, 2nd edition 2004, Art. 1, Rn 133.
  3. Constitutional Judge Vosskuhle: “Don't declare everything on the question of human dignity” , interview with Andreas Voßkuhle, in: FAZ from May 1, 2008.
  4. Torture must remain taboo , in: the daily newspaper of January 14, 2008.
  5. Human dignity can be touched: About judge Horst Dreier, who could soon become very powerful , Heribert Prantl , in: Süddeutsche Zeitung of January 22, 2008.
  6. ↑ The torture debate casts shadows on future constitutional judges , in: Spiegel Online from January 23, 2008.
  7. Dreier, in: Dreier, Basic Law Commentary , Vol. 1, 2nd edition 2004, Art. 1.
  8. One should speak openly of “torture” , in: taz of January 28, 2008.
  9. Thorsten Jungholt: Horst Dreier and his version of character assassination. Almost constitutional judge. In: Welt Online. Axel Springer AG, July 18, 2008, accessed on November 3, 2011 : “The lawyer Horst Dreier was actually supposed to become Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court. But because his views on stem cells did not fit the Catholic Church, Dreier had to give way. He spoke to Welt Online about the campaign by the CDU and the Catholic Church that damaged his reputation. "
  10. Union blocks SPD judge candidate Dreier (tagesschau.de archive), tagesschau.de from February 1, 2008.
  11. CDU politician supports controversial SPD judge candidate , Spiegel Online from February 3, 2008.
  12. Tonio Walter : Collisions with Human Dignity ( Memento of the original from May 17, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 486 kB), article in the Frankfurter Rundschau of February 9, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / toniowalter.de
  13. Burned - An Advocate of Torture? How the liberal constitutional lawyer Horst Dreier was made impossible by liberal critics as a judge at the Federal Constitutional Court , Robert Leicht , in: Die Zeit , No. 7 of February 7, 2008.
  14. Prof. Andreas Voßkuhle is to succeed Prof. Winfried Hassemer as judge and vice-president of the Federal Constitutional Court , Bremen Senate Press Office of April 18, 2008.
  15. Member entry of Horst Dreier (with picture) at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on July 4, 2016.
  16. Member entry of Horst Dreier (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on July 4, 2016.