[EDITORIALS]Stop tampering with courtsConflict over the nomination of a supreme court justice appears to be taking over the attention of the entire country. More than 100 judges have signed an online petition to the chief justice of the court, and President Roh Moo-hyun has suggested that he would veto the person who is likely to be nominated.
We want to remind people of the essence of judicial reform. The motive for judicial reform is rooted in the reflection and regret over the inability of the judiciary to break away from the hold of power and authority during dictatorial governments of the past. The essence of judicial reform is ensuring the independence of judicial appointments and restoring the constitutional rights of judges to decide on cases as they believe just.
We believe the actions of the younger judges are based on good intentions to see true reform in the judiciary. But good intentions are not enough.
We have to remember that the Blue House spoke about the group action by junior judges in advance. If their move provides an excuse to outside groups to intervene in the matters of the judiciary, the independence of the judiciary will be undermined. The judiciary could, in other words, be inviting control by the administration. The judges would be well advised to look back on their actions and see whether their well-intended dissatisfaction with appointments is contributing to the weakening of judicial independence. They need to reconsider their priorities ― whether they are really fair appointments or judicial independence.
Democracy is based on the separation of the three branches of government. Public interest groups and reform-minded lawyers must also ask whether their demands are in fact threatening an inherent right of the judiciary. We believe that the judiciary is capable of the rational reasoning and judgment to make that decision.
The president ought not to veto the nomination of a prospective justice unless there is a critical flaw in his character. This is an administration that is deep in lawsuits against the media. We are concerned that the media and the judiciary will be dispirited.