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Our guest on 28.09.2008

Jutta Limbach, former Constitutional Court President


Dr Jutta Limbach has held a host of key positions: a professor of law in Berlin, she was appointed Berlin's Justice Senator and later went on to become the President of the German Constitutional Court, and was often cited as a possible contender for the post of Federal President. Born in Berlin in 1934 into a working class family with strong Social Democrat traditions she was a keen supporter of women's rights. Her great-grandmother is said to have been imprisoned for insulting the Kaiser, and her grandmother was a Social Democrat parliamentarian during the troubled period as the Weimar Republic was being torn apart by the Nazis.

Following German unification in 1990, Dr Limbach was given the difficult task of vetting judges and state prosecutors who had been active during the era of Communist-ruled East Germany. Her duties as Justice Senator also included a review and reorganisation of the newly-unified city of Berlin's justice system.

She achieved the highlight of her law career in 1994 when she became the first woman to head Germany's highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.

In 2002, she became President of the Goethe Institut, Germany´s global network of cultural offices. She established a special council to promote the German language abroad. Early this year she published a book on the role of German in a new, globalized world.

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