[EDITORIALS]Court makes historyAt last, a woman is expected to become a Constitutional Court justice for the first time in history. On Tuesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Choi Jong-young named Chun Hyo-suk, 52, senior judge of the Seoul High Court, as a Constitutional Court justice. The Supreme Court has the right to recommend three Constitutional Court justices, whom the president then formally appoints. This is the first time a woman has been recommended for the Constitutional Court since it opened in 1987. The Supreme Court broke with its tradition of recommending relatively senior judges and prosecutors to fill the post, which reflects the judicial authority’s determination to reform.
The Constitutional Court determines whether legislation is constitutional. People considered socially weak, such as women who have recently awakened to their rights, need special consideration if they are to stand up on their own and not suffer setbacks. The number of women in the legal profession is increasing rapidly. The number of women judges, prosecutors and lawyers has reached 9,000. Including female law professors, there are about 11,000 women in the legal field. Many female college students dream of entering the legal profession; for instance, one out of every four students in the Seoul National University law department is a woman.
The designation of Ms. Chun will contribute a lot toward the advancement of women’s rights. It is raising expectations that the Constitutional Court will strengthen gender equality and present a role model to the ever-increasing number of women jurists. We believe that Ms. Chun, hailed by the Supreme Court as “the most appropriate candidate meeting the needs of the times,” will achieve more than is expected of her.
The judiciary has opened a new page of history. Changes there have come late compared with the legislature and government administration. But the number of women promoted to top judicial positions will continue to increase. The Supreme Court will replace 13 justices over the next five years. We hope to see a woman named as a Supreme Court justice in the near future.