“Aerial Security Law.” Case No. 1 BvR 357/05. 115 BVerfGE 118. Available at <http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de>.
Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court of Germany), February 15, 2006.
On February 15,2006, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (Bundesverfassungsgericht) held the Aerial Security Act to be unconstitutional. This act authorized the use of military force against any aircraft intended to be used for the killing of human beings, if the use of such force was the only means to avert an immediate danger. The Court based its ruling on two grounds: first, that the federal level of government had no legislative power to enact such a law, and second, that the act's authorization of military force infringed upon the guarantee of human dignity as embodied in Article 1(1) of the German Constitution, or Basic Law (Grundgesetz).
On January 5, 2003, a small airplane circled over the Frankfurt banking district. For a few moments people saw themselves confronted with a terror attack, recalling 9/11 and the pictures of the burning World Trade Center. The police evacuated several buildings and two Air Force fighter jets arrived before it was established that the pilot was not a terrorist but merely a mentally confused person. A year later, in January 2004, the federal government proposed a draft federal Aerial Security Act. The government argued that the attacks of 9/11, along with the Frankfurt incident, made clear that in order to protect against such attacks, it was necessary to clarify the roles of the federal and state (Länder) governments. “This draft is meant to achieve that aim … and to establish quick and efficient mechanisms for information gathering and decision.”