[EDITORIALS]Release all Roh opinionsThe Constitutional Court, now deliberating the impeachment case against President Roh Moo-hyun, said yesterday it would deliver a final verdict on Friday. It said it would allow live broadcast coverage of the session, so citizens will be notified of the decision quickly and vividly.
The impeachment bill was laid before the court on March 12. The final decision to be released Friday has been made quickly, and that is commendable. As this is the first presidential impeachment in the nation’s constitutional history, there is no precedent to refer to. Therefore, there were heated debates and acute confrontations of political interests. The court’s permission for live broadcasting of the session is commendable as well, because it can deliver the court’s verdict to people simultaneously and transparently.
The court, however, did not clarify whether it would release dissenting opinions or individual justices’ opinions delivered separately from the binding decision of all nine justices. The court said, “You will know on the day of the verdict,” which is ambiguous. Is it saying that it will discuss further the release of the opinions, or is it saying that it will remain silent on the issue?
At any rate, we believe it would be right for the court to release the dissenting opinions. Citizens have the right to know why some justices approved the impeachment and others did not. The verdict should not be handed down evasively. The impeachment case will set a valuable historical precedent and it will contribute to the accumulation of the nation’s legal traditions.
Some say the justices are required to release their minority opinions only for constitutional appeals, not for impeachment cases. But as shown in the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court, minority opinions should be released under each justice’s own name.
The U.S. Supreme Court made public the dissenting opinions when it ruled that the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to recount votes in the 2000 presidential election was unconstitutional.
The court should not hide minority opinion out of political consideration. It has to make the proceedings of the impeachment public in as transparent a way as possible, according to the law and principles.