Germany's supreme court has ruled against a law allowing the German air force to shoot down hijacked airliners to prevent a terrorist attack.

The country's highest court ruled Wednesday the law violates the German constitution. The legislation came under fire by critics who said the state does not have the right to kill innocent civilians to save others' lives.

The government proposed the law following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, and drafted the legislation after a German man threatened to crash an airplane into a Frankfurt building in 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.