France’s top administrative court overturns burkini ban – The Washington Post:
The administrative court concluded that the idea of a burkini ban insulted “fundamental freedoms” such as the “freedom to come and go, the freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
This overturn is a relief. And it’s a strong case against sordid deviations from the rule of law because of an alleged “war on terror”.
The Conseil d’État (the supreme court for administrative cases) overturned the Villeneuve-Loubet ban because she found the city mayor didn’t had the right to impose this ban. One of the “argument” used in favour of the ban was that considering the recent terrorist attacks and the ensued social climate in France, wearing a burkini could threaten public order.
Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, a top French jurist said (in French) this ruling is a very strong case in favor of civil rights and fundamental freedoms, as it puts some very precise boundaries of what’s “public order”.
By definition, protecting public order can only be done by restricting some freedoms (for instance the freedom to come and go of jailed criminals). And what the Conseil d’État ruled is the following: you need to have a serious and very specific reason to actually restrict individual freedoms to (allegedly) protect public order. Otherwise, these blurred lines could lead to a lot of abuses.
Claiming there’s some “troubled climate” women wearing burkinis can “fuel” is neither serious nor specific, the Conseil d’État wrote.
To me, the core argument that wearing a burkini is a way to show some support for “radical Islam” is nothing but bullshit. (I also disagree that the fight against terrorism is a “war” as I’m not sure ISIS and friends are actually rooted in “mainstream” radical Islam. But that’s two other stories.)
Let’s be honest: most of the mayors who tried to ban the burkinis have some sort of racist agenda. They can be racists themselves or, more probably, they’ve tried to appeal some Front National voters considering a lot of important elections will take place in 2017 (presidential and legislative). South East of France is an area where the extreme right vote is historically very strong – and the vast majority of cities that tried to ban the burkinis are located in this area.
At the end, I’m very relieved by the Conseil d’État’s decision. This is a great victory for civil rights, the defence of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Racists will have to find something else to push their ugly agenda.
(Via The Washington Post)