Federal Constitutional Court of Germany

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The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, or BVerfG) is a special court established by the Grundgesetz, the German basic law. Since its inception, the constitutional court has been located in the city of Karlsruhe, intentionally dislocated from the other federal institutions like the seat of the government in Berlin (earlier in Bonn), the head office of the BND (the German foreign intelligence agency) near Munich, or the seat of the Bundesbank (central bank) in Frankfurt.

The sole task of the court is judicial review. It may therefore declare public acts unconstitutional and thus render them ineffective. As such, it is similar to the Supreme Court of the United States. Yet the Court possesses a number of powers that the U.S. Supreme Court does not have (see below). It also differs from the U.S. and other supreme courts in that it is not an integral part of the regular judicial system (save for the areas of constitutional law and public international law) but installed as a separate judicial institution. Many other countries around the world possess separate constitutional courts similar to the Federal Constitutional Court.

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