[EDITORIALS]A valuable lesson is taughtThe final ruling by the Constitutional Court yesterday that dismissed the National Assembly’s impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun puts an end to the two months of political and legal debate that gripped the nation. It is worth noting that the court made the decision in a relatively short period of time. However, it is regrettable that the court infringed on the people’s right to know by not making minority opinions public, instead adhering to the principle of confidentiality in the court’s deliberations.
This decision by the court is significant in that it resolved, through legal procedures, the conflict and division that resulted from the unprecedented impeachment of the president. Just as much, this decision has upgraded our standard in the rule of law and democracy. This also confirmed the division of powers among the three branches of government by having the judicial branch put a brake on the bill passed by the legislative branch.
This is a precious experience in our constitutional history for our legislative and judicial branches to go through an untrodden path of impeachment. It is beneficial to us that, in an emergency situation where the president’s powers were suspended, we were able to safely oversee last month’s legislative elections without much confusion. It shows that our nation is able to function not by the rule of man, but by the rule of the governmental system.
It is also worth noting that the court’s verdict drew a clear line in the controversial debate over the president’s proposed confidence vote. The court said, “It is a violation of the constitutional obligation not to use the national referendum as a political tool to strengthen one’s political standing.” Also, the court made it clear that as head of the executive branch, the president had the obligation to supervise fair elections. It also clarified that the president is a public official with the duty to maintain neutrality in elections.
It is also meaningful that the court confirmed that the Assembly handled the impeachment case according to lawful procedures. We can assume that a message is included that it is wrong to point fingers or criticize the Assembly for being “ultraconservative” for passing the impeachment bill. In this regard, it is not only wrong to deny the ruling, but it is wrong to blame the powers and groups that led the impeachment. We must show maturity in our consciousness by respecting others and letting go of any bitterness. Politicians and the public are responsible for upgrading the level of our politics and the rule of law.