Carl Schmitt on enabling legislation and the case of the Free City of Danzig: A legal opinion of 1935

In the spring of 1933, the newly formed National-Socialist majority in Danzig issued an Ermächtigungsgesetz which was meant to be the legal basis of the dismantling of liberal democracy. Unlike the German Reich, however, here this process was met with resistance due to a surviving political opposition and to the international status of the Free City. In a legal opinion submitted to the Council of the League of Nations, Schmitt argued for the constitutionality of the enabling law by deploying concepts developed in the Weimar era in a subtler strategy suited to buttress the Nazi take-over in Danzig. Defending the constitutional right of government to curtail the rights of political opposition in a state of exception, Schmitt actually justified the not at all provisionary, but revolutionary policies of the party in power. Behind this legal opinion was a theory of an epochal, world-wide transformation of constitutional orders overcoming the principle of the separation of powers itself.