Naked Law, Lost Traditions. A Comment on Reut Paz and Legal Pluralism

Some days ago, Reut Yael Paz published a critical comment on the Cologne Court’s circumcision decision on this blog. Reut rigthly criticized the ignorant stance the Court took towards the challenges of legal pluralism and the conflict of diverging normative orders at the core of the concrete case – and she rightly criticized the widespread silence on these matters that shaped the debate so far.

However, her own distinction between the Public and the Private remains unclear and therefore problematic. Does religion exclusively belong to the private sphere? The Cologne courts did not explicitely problematize that differentiation, and Reut Paz leaves in the dark how precisely the public / private distinction comes into play in conflicts of normative orders. Furthermore: Is, from the perspective of a state court, the relation between the constitution and orders of religious law not necessarily an asymmetrical one? (What, as goes without saying, does not imply that non-state legal orders could simply be ignored.)

Alas, these questions have meanwhile been discussed by various commentators. What prompts my intervention, though, despite other pressing issues of the day both public and private, is a statement made by the author that I find utterly unjustified ...

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