Supreme Court Justice Hearing Must Not Be Exploited

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Supreme Court Justice Hearing Must Not Be Exploited

Less than one week remains before the June 6-7 National Assembly hearing for the newly nominated justices of the Supreme Court. The special committee has not even been organized, however. While the ruling and opposition parties fight to win the committee chairperson position, negligence is expected in the submission of documents and requests to name witnesses five days prior to the hearing.

A new system has been devised to evaluate the nominees to confirm their suitability for a Supreme Court seat. Because there are no precedents and accumulated know-how for the system, additional research and preparations are in order. It is disappointing and worrying, however, that preparations have been disrupted before they have even begun. No time remains for the parties to haggle, in order to avoid the type of 'sidekick session' that occurred in the Prime Ministership hearing.

The capability, morality, legal philosophy, and judgement proficiency of the nominees must be verified at the National Assembly hearing. Their capability seems to have been proven throughout their career, but the morality and judgement of each individual justice is barely known. Because justices are symbols of power and honor, morality is a most important characteristic; there is no need to mention that justices must have no moral deficiencies, and strict verification of this fact is necessary.

Judgement propensity, legal philosophy as well as the beliefs of the individual justices must be carefully investigated, for these give shape to consequent legal applications and determine the future direction for the judicial system. In order to investigate these important aspects, judgements and related documents must be analyzed in great detail. It is doubtful, however, that the six prospective justices can be evaluated in such a short time period, considering the present delaying of the ruling and opposition parties.

It is also important to beware that the National Assembly hearing could become a political tool. The leaders of the Millennium Democratic Party commented that "the indifference of the Supreme Court justices, when re-counting the ballots of the April general election to determine the winners after a close race, must be discussed at the hearing.”

It is inappropriate to convey the impression that the political sector will use the hearing as a chance to check the powers of the judiciary. The ruling party must understand that if they take advantage of these hearings to complain about the judiciary, it constitutes a threat to the independence of the judiciary, as well as an invasion of judicial rights.

by Park Shin-hong

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