Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

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Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger at a panel discussion in the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in August 2013
Signature of Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (born Leutheusser , often abbreviated to SLS ; born July 26, 1951 in Minden ) is a German politician ( FDP ). She was Federal Minister of Justice from 1992 to 1996 and from 2009 to 2013 . On November 6, 2018, the North Rhine-Westphalian state government appointed her as the state's first anti-Semitism commissioner . In addition, she has been a (non-professional) member of the Bavarian Constitutional Court since January 2019 .


education and profession

After graduating from high school in 1970 at the Caroline-von-Humboldt-Gymnasium in Minden , she studied law in Göttingen and Bielefeld . She passed the first state examination in 1975 and the second state examination in 1978. From 1979 to 1990 she worked at the German Patent Office in Munich , most recently as Senior Government Director .

Political party

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been a member of the FDP since 1978. She belongs to the Freiburg Circle and the left- wing liberal wing of the FDP. Since 1991 she has been a member of the FDP federal executive committee. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been a member of the Presidium of the FDP since 1993 (first in her function as a Federal Minister belonging to the FDP, since May 1997 as an elected assessor); in 2005 she was confirmed in this office.

From December 2000 to November 2013 she was state chairwoman of the FDP Bavaria . In a fight vote, she narrowly prevailed against the previous state chairman Hermann Stützer , who had taken over the office from Max Stadler in 1998. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger's central goal was to return to the state parliament in autumn 2003. This goal was clearly missed (2.6%), even if the result was around a third better than in 1998 . In the 2005 Bundestag election , the FDP in Bavaria, under her leadership, received 9.5 percent of the vote (after 4.5% in the 2002 Bundestag election ); nine Bavarian FDP members moved into the Bundestag (after four in 2002).

After her resignation as Federal Justice Minister in January 1996 (see below), she became the European political spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group . In this capacity, she accompanied the work of the FDP on strengthening the constitutional basis in the European Union .

From 2002 to 2009 she was one of the deputy parliamentary group chairmen and legal policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group and was chairwoman of the legal committee of the Bundestag.

After the state elections in 2008 , she signed the coalition agreement with the CSU as party leader on October 24, 2008 . At the constituent session of the state parliament on October 27, 2008, the CSU and FDP elected Horst Seehofer Prime Minister ( Seehofer I cabinet ).

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger often achieved high popularity ratings in surveys compared to other FDP politicians. According to the Deutschlandtrend survey (ARD) on May 5, 2011, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was the most popular FDP politician.

In 2013 she was elected honorary chairman by the FDP Bavaria .

Member of Parliament

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been a member of the Starnberg District Assembly since the Bavarian municipal elections in 2002 .

From 1990 to 2013 she was also a member of the German Bundestag . She started in the constituency of Starnberg , but has always entered the German Bundestag via the state list of the FDP Bavaria, in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2013 she led the state list.

From 2002 she was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and was a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

Due to the failure of her party to pass the five percent hurdle in the 2013 federal election , she is no longer represented in the 18th Bundestag. After that, she no longer competed for the Bavarian state list.

Federal Minister of Justice

On 18 May 1992 Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was as Federal Minister of Justice in the by Chancellor Helmut Kohl led government appointed ( Fourth Kohl cabinet and cabinet Kohl V ). On December 14, 1995, she announced her resignation in protest against the planned acoustic surveillance of living spaces as part of the large bugging attack , which her party had advocated in a member survey, and resigned from office on January 17, 1996.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger's resignation for reasons of conscience - she did not want to support the decision of the federal government to use the "large eavesdropping attack", which was later overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court - was perceived by many people as a sign of their backbone. In 2009 she became Federal Minister of Justice again, making her the first female minister in German history to hold the same office after resigning.

Council of Europe

As a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 2003 to 2009, she was part of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. She dealt with the role of Russia in the Council of Europe and its violations of the ECHR . Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was critical of the inadequate cooperation between Russia and the Council of Europe in connection with the Chechen conflict and the Yukos case . As an observer (rapporteur) of the Yukos process, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger wrote a report that was adopted on January 25, 2005 in the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly.

In 2014 Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger ran for the post of Secretary General of the Council of Europe . In the vote of the Parliamentary Assembly, she was defeated by incumbent Thorbjørn Jagland with 93 votes to 156.

Other engagement

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger at the Berlinale 2011

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been an advisory board member of the Pro Justitia Foundation since 2004 . She is chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Federal President-Theodor-Heuss-Haus Foundation , deputy chairwoman of the Theodor-Heuss-Foundation , patron and member of Dunkelziffer e. V. - Help for sexually abused children , member of the Board of Trustees of the Sebastian Cobler Foundation and member of the Board of Advisors of the Global Panel Foundation . She was a member of the Advisory Board of the Humanist Union . She is also a member of the Association Against Forgetting - For Democracy e. V. , of the German Child Protection Association e. V. Starnberg and also a member of the White Ring e. V . She was one of the supporters of Alice Schwarzer's PorNO campaign , which seeks to enforce the ban on pornography . Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was an active member of the Mindener Stichlinge , Germany's oldest active amateur cabaret .

Since 2014, she has been a member of an eight-member advisory board with external experts from European countries, which Google Inc. founded in response to criticism of the implementation of the ECJ ruling of May 13, 2014 on the right to be forgotten and which was in charge of drafting a Deletion guide should advise.

Since September 2014 Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been a member of the board of the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom . She has been the deputy chairwoman of the board since September 2018.

She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the GDD and one of the supporters of the Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights of the European Union , which was published at the end of November 2016.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boris Nemzow Foundation for Freedom and was a board member of Transparency Germany , the German chapter of Transparency International .


Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was awarded the Hamm Brücher Medal in 1995 and the Paul Klinger Prize of the German Employees' Union in the following year . In 1997, the ZDF journal ML Mona Lisa voted her “Woman of the Year”. Among other things, she received the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class and the Order of Merit of the Free State of Bavaria in 2002 . In 2010 she was presented with the compass needle of the NRW gay network and one year later the Bavarian Constitutional Medal in silver. In November 2015 she received the GDD's data protection award .


Her grandfather Louis Leutheusser was already active as a local politician during the Weimar Republic , her father Horst Leutheusser was a lawyer and, as a CDU member, deputy mayor of Minden from 1964 to 1969 . Wolfgang Stammberger , Federal Minister of Justice from 1961 to 1962, was her uncle. Her brother Thomas Leutheusser is a lawyer specializing in criminal law and immigration law in Nuremberg. Her sister Ruth Leutheusser de Vries was an English teacher, deputy director and then director at the Gymnasium am Waldhof (formerly Bavink Gymnasium) in Bielefeld.

Her husband, Ernst Schnarrenberger, died on February 23, 2006. She lives in Feldafing .

Political positions

Fundamental rights

In her essay “Courage for Freedom”, she described her understanding of freedom as follows: “Freedom located in the substantive constitutional state means freedom from state interference in the fundamental rights of citizens. Freedoms as they have constitutional status in Germany in the form of fundamental rights. Fundamental freedoms are therefore first and foremost the individual's rights to defend themselves against state action that restricts freedom. The realization of these freedoms depends to a decisive extent on the constitution of the state, more precisely on its rule of law. "

Big bugging

With the law to combat organized crime and the addition of paragraphs 3 to 6 in Article 13 of the Basic Law, the Great Eavesdropping was passed in January 1998 by the Bundestag and in March 1998 by the Bundesrat. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger then filed a constitutional complaint with Gerhart Baum and Burkhard Hirsch . In a decision of March 3, 2004, the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed that the great eavesdropping in part violated human dignity and is therefore unconstitutional.

Telecommunications and New Media

Data retention

At the end of 2007, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, represented by Hirsch, like Baum, filed a constitutional complaint against data retention , which had been decided by the grand coalition in November 2007.

On March 2, 2010, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the data retention in the form at that time (for which Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was now formally responsible as Federal Minister) to be unconstitutional.

Internet blocking

In the years after 2009 Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was one of the coalition's main opponents of the controversial initiative by Ursula von der Leyen to block websites with child pornographic content . The initiative was the subject of intense disputes. In February 2010, the federal government ( Merkel II cabinet , Union / FDP) distanced itself from the proposed law. The then Federal President Horst Köhler had refused to sign the law up to this point. On April 5, 2011, the federal government finally decided to repeal the Access Barrier Act. The repeal of the law was brought into direct connection in the media with her involvement and was sometimes clearly attributed to her.

Monitoring programs


After the American surveillance program PRISM became known in mid-2013, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger expressed himself critically. In a guest post she contradicted the statement made by US President Barack Obama on June 7, 2013 “You can't have 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience” ( Author Barack Obama : Der Tagesspiegel): “I don't share this assessment. A society is less free, the more intensely its citizens are monitored, controlled and observed. In a democratic constitutional state, security is not an end in itself, but serves to secure freedom. ”( Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger : Spiegel Online). She demanded clarification from the USA: “The suspicion of excessive communication surveillance is so worrying that it must not remain in the room. That is why openness and clarification by the US administration itself must now come first. All facts must be on the table. ”( Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger : Spiegel Online)

Tempora (British interception system)

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger commented on reports that Great Britain operates a much more extensive wiretapping program ( tenses ) than the USA, very clearly (“If the allegations are correct, it would be a disaster.” “The allegations against Great Britain sound like a Hollywood nightmare. "). The clarification belongs immediately to the European institutions.

No spy agreement

After the NDR, WDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung had revealed in May 2015 that there had never been any prospect of the no-spy agreement promised by the government , Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger ruled that the Chancellery ultimately had the people and the coalition partner FDP " behind the spruce ". A “ Potemkin village ” had been set up “to push the issue aside and calm everyone down.” Chancellor Merkel was probably enough that she was removed from the espionage program.

Cases of abuse in Catholic institutions

In the context of the revelations of cases of abuse at German Catholic institutions , Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger demanded in a television interview on February 23, 2010, contrary to the previous practice, that the public prosecutor should always be involved in suspected cases of abuse.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was criticized for this statement; she admitted that suspected sexual abuse was not required to be reported. The then chairman of the German Bishops' Conference , Archbishop Robert Zollitsch , accused her of making false statements of fact and gave her an ultimatum of 24 hours to correct her interview statements. After a phone call with Merkel and Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger's offer to talk, Zollitsch withdrew the ultimatum.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was unable to assert himself in the cabinet with her request to deal with the cases of abuse that had become known in German Catholic institutions in a separate round table in the Ministry of Justice. She finally took part in the “Sexual Abuse” round table together with Family Minister Kristina Schröder and Education Minister Annette Schavan . In the further course of the debate, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger continued to express himself very critical of the Catholic Church in Germany and was sometimes heavily criticized for it. However, your request to revise the guidelines of the German Bishops 'Conference from 2002 was taken up by the Bavarian Bishops' Conference. This requirement was that the public prosecutor should be notified of any suspicion of abuse that became known, even if the victim did not want this.

Pan-European immigration regulation

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger calls on the EU to adopt a common immigration policy in 2011. The European Union must "face reality and control immigration through a clever common immigration policy", whereby it must "better meet its humanitarian obligations in the future". This applies to immigration to poverty as well as to political refugee movements.

Purchase of tax evaders CDs by tax authorities

On September 1, 2012, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger declared in connection with the tax agreement between Germany and Switzerland , the ratification of which the opposition had questioned, its support for a legal initiative "against data theft " by the Hessian Justice Minister Jörg-Uwe Hahn , which also included the purchase of Bank customer data for the prosecution of tax offenses, so-called tax evaders CDs , should be made criminal by German authorities. Against some fierce criticism, she defended her point of view and declared: "Tax evasion should be fought with all legal means and not with the help of criminals and windy data stealers" and "The damage to the rule of law is greater in the long term than a few percentage points more in the long term by fueling a tax data black market for the SPD ”. Numerous critics from the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen accused her of wanting to prosecute tax investigators in order to protect tax evaders.



  • Between naturalization and political participation by “foreign citizens”. What leeway does the democratic constitutional state grant in Germany? In: Christian Büttner, Berthold Meyer (Ed.): Integration through participation. “Foreign fellow citizens” in democratic societies (= studies by the Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research. 35). Campus, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2001, ISBN 3-593-36723-8 , pp. 31-43.
  • Data Retention - A preprogrammed constitutional conflict. In: Journal for Legal Policy Vol. 40, No. 1, 2007, pp. 9-13, JSTOR 23428994 .
  • On the way to the authoritarian state. In: Sheets for German and international politics . Vol. 53, No. 1, 2008, pp. 62-70, ( online ).
  • Posture is strength. What is at stake. Kösel, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-466-37185-3 . Reading sample
  • Fear eats up freedom. Why we need to protect our fundamental rights . wbg Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, ISBN 978-3-80623891-4 .

Web links

Commons : Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger becomes anti-Semitism officer in North Rhine-Westphalia. WDR, November 6, 2018, accessed November 6, 2018 .
  2. ^ Directory of judges of the Bavarian Constitutional Court.
  3. Union more popular again - FDP below 5 percent hurdle . Hamburger Abendblatt. May 5, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  5. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elects Secretary General. German Bundestag, June 24, 2014, archived from the original on March 31, 2017 ; accessed on November 6, 2018 .
  6. ^ Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. Bavarian television, November 30, 2016, archived from the original on March 31, 2017 ; accessed on November 9, 2018 .
  7. Ewald Grothe : "When in doubt for freedom". 20 years ago, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger announced her resignation in protest against the planned acoustic monitoring of living spaces as part of the great bugging attack . Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, December 14, 2015.
  8. The Last Liberal . Legal Tribune Online. July 26, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Opening lecture: Russia and the Council of Europe. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, May 15, 2008, archived from the original on January 3, 2013 ; accessed on November 11, 2018 .
  10. The Khodorkovsky case. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, February 15, 2005, archived from the original on January 3, 2013 ; accessed on November 16, 2018 .
  11. ↑ Legal expert on Yukos. In: Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. February 15, 2005, archived from the original on January 3, 2013 ; accessed on November 16, 2018 .
  12. The Yukos Report . metatag. Retrieved March 30, 2017  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  13. ^ Jagland remains Secretary General . The New Zurich Times. June 24, 2014. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Party alliance in front of Alice Schwarzer's cart . Berlin newspaper. August 18, 1998. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  15. Google takes Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger into the Lösch advisory board . Mirror online. July 11, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  16. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (PDF) Friedrich Naumann Foundation. November 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  17. ^ Website of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom . Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  18. Scientific Advisory Board . Society for data protection and data security. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  19. Board of Trustees . In: Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom . ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  20. ^ Headlight 80th Transparency International Deutschland eV, September 2018, accessed on December 28, 2019 .
  21. Interview with Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger on September 17, 2018. LiSL Bayern, October 2018, accessed on December 28, 2019 .
  22. GDD data protection prize for Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger . Society for data protection and data security. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  23. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is not thinking of changing names . Colorful. February 11, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  24. Constitutional complaints against acoustic living space surveillance (so-called large eavesdropping) partially successful . Federal Constitutional Court. March 3, 2004. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  25. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger Retention of data: constitutional complaint necessary ) (unfortunately only link to main page recorded).@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  26. Concrete design of data retention not in accordance with the constitution . Federal Constitutional Court. March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  27. Black and yellow moves away from internet blocks . Mirror online. February 8, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  28. ^ Jost Müller-Neuhof: Blocking the network: Köhler refuses to sign . updated article; originally from November 30, 2009. In: Die Zeit . February 7, 2012, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed January 23, 2019]).
  29. Black-and-yellow overturns Internet blocks . star. April 6, 2011. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  30. ^ Coalition buries "Zensursula" law . Mirror online. April 5, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  31. Leutheusser celebrates tipped internet blocks as a victory. In: T-Online. April 6, 2011, archived from the original on May 8, 2016 ; accessed on February 1, 2019 .
  32. Reason triumphs over internet blocking . Mirror online. April 6, 2011. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  33. Christoph von Marschall: Access to user data from Google, Facebook and Co. - US secret service NSA - license to hack. Der Tagesspiegel, June 7, 2013, accessed on February 6, 2019 .
  34. ^ A b Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: Prism scandal in the USA: Security is not an end in itself . In: Spiegel Online . June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  35. Justice Minister horrified by British wiretapping program . Mirror online. June 22, 2013. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  36. "The Chancellery has led the people behind the spruce tree" . Mirror online. May 11, 2015. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  37. "The Church Must Work With The Authorities" . February 22, 2010. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  38. No duty to report abuse . February 24, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  39. Merkel mediates on the phone . Mirror online. February 24, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  40. Ex-minister becomes abuse officer - round table comes. In: March 24, 2010, archived from the original on March 27, 2010 ; accessed on March 3, 2019 .
  41. For more details see: Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church .
  42. "Guidelines on the procedure for sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the area of ​​the German Bishops 'Conference" (PDF) German Bishops' Conference. March 29, 2017. Accessed March 30, 2017.
  43. In the future, bishops always want to turn on the judiciary .
  44. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: EU needs a common immigration policy .
  45. ^ "Germany needs the tax agreement" , Sü, September 2, 2012.
  46. ^ Escape from the tax authorities - Schäuble slows Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger ,, September 3, 2012.