[EDITORIALS]Hands off the courtSome Uri Party lawmakers are trying to revise the laws governing the Constitutional Court, including a change aiming at making National Assembly hearings mandatory before appointing all justices to the nation’s highest court. Some are even planning a revision to ease the restrictions on candidates for a Constitutional Court justice, from more than 15 years of legal practice to more than 10 years of such a background.
The governing party has shown displeasure about the court’s ruling that the administration’s attempt to move the nation’s capital was unconstitutional. Therefore, it is easy to guess why the party is trying to revise the Constitutional Court Act.
It can be argued that the verification process of the Constitutional Court judges should be reinforced. All Supreme Court justices have to go through National Assembly’s hearings, but only three out of the nine-member Constitutional Court undergo such scrutiny. The three are appointed by the National Assembly and the chief justice.
It is also valid that the court must be diversified, because the role of the court has become increasingly significant today. But, the timing of the revision is sensitive. The move can only be seen as an attempt to undermine the court and retaliation against the court’s decision.
The lawmakers argued that the qualification of the Constitutional Court justices should be eased, and that is a dangerous and political argument. It shows an intention to appoint judges who share an agenda with this administration. The judiciary cannot follow the characteristics of an administration. It should defend democratic values and the lawful order. The U.S. Supreme Court justices are all appointed for life because the justices should stand independent from a particular administration.
During the Roh administration, all nine members of the court will be replaced. Two have already changed, and the rest will follow. Including the chief justice, Mr. Roh will appoint three directly, while two will be selected by the National Assembly. The attempts to ease the candidates’ qualification show a political motivation.
When the court rejected the presidential impeachment, the Uri Party remained silent. Why is it trying to revise the laws governing the court at this particular moment? The governing party must stop shaking the Constitutional Court.