No Mummenschanz in the Judiciary
Muslim groups fear the hijab ban will be extended to include all public employees. The DPP is not happy with the ban including anything but a Muslim veil. I will try to update this article with the various responses.
Judges in the nation’s courts will be banned from wearing headscarves and other religious apparel under a proposal put forward by the government on Wednesday.
The bill, which also stated that judges in all courts would be required to wear robes, has the support of a vast majority in parliament, including the Social Democrats, the largest opposition party
The proposal comes after nearly a month of debate unleashed by a Court Administration decision that it had no legal grounds to exclude Muslim women who wore headscarves from becoming judges.
‘Judges that make decisions in court cases, probate courts and county courts need to appear fair and neutral. And we are ready to pass legislation to ensure that,’ Lene Espersen, the justice minister, said.
The ban will apply to all forms of religious apparel, including Christian crosses and Jewish yarmulkes. The requirement that judges wear robes will be extended from those serving on the High and Supreme court to courts at all levels.
Neither lawyers, juries nor lay judges will be affected by the decision. Nor will it apply to other trades.
‘We don’t plan on passing more legislation than is necessary,’ Espersen said. ‘The decision about whether nurses, teachers and other employees should be allowed to wear religious symbols should be made locally.’
Although the government’s decision comes after its own study of how other countries have dealt with the issue of judges and religious apparel, the announcement capped a day in which one of the cabinet’s most outspoken ministers sent shockwaves through the government as she openly expressed her support for judges’ right to do so.
In a commentary in Politiken newspaper on Wednesday, Birthe RÃ¸nn Hornbeck, who serves as
both immigration minister and minister for ecclesiastical affairs, stated her opposition to a ban, suggesting that doing so would put Denmark on the path towards a ‘dictatorship’. She also criticised ‘fanatic anti-Muslims’ who had launched a misleading advertising campaign warning against permitting judges to wear headscarves.
‘I think the question is so important that it requires us to look at it from all sides,’ she said after being called to consultation with the prime minister.
In addition to adding to the friction between her and leading members of her Liberal Party, publicly stating her opinion also broke the cabinet’s pledge to remain silent on the issue until it had completed its review.
Source: Copenhagen Post