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I see my role as a judge of a supreme court in a democracy as the protection of the constitution and of democracy. We cannot take the continued existence of a democracy for granted. This is certainly the case for new democracies, but it is also true of the old and well-established ones. The approach that "it cannot happen to us" can no longer be accepted. Anything can happen. If democracy was perverted and destroyed in the Germany of Kant, Beethoven and Goethe, it can happen anywhere. If we do not protect democracy, democracy will not protect us. I do not know if the supreme court judges in Germany could have prevented Hitler from coming to power in the 1930s. But I do know that one of the lessons of the Holocaust and of the Second World War is the need to have democratic constitutions and ensure that they are put into effect by supreme court judges whose main task is to protect democracy. It was this awareness that, in the post-World War II era, helped disseminate the idea of judicial review of legislative action and make human rights central. It led to the recognition of defensive democracy and even militant democracy. And it shaped my perspective, that the main role of the supreme court judge in a democracy is to maintain and protect the constitution and democracy.
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