[EDITORIALS]Find a new nominee

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[EDITORIALS]Find a new nominee

The approval of the chief nominee for the Constitutional Court, Jeon Hyo-sook, has been postponed yet again. The ruling Uri Party and three opposition parties tried to reach a compromise, but the Grand National Party refused. The three minor parties should be given credit for their attempts to break the deadlock. However, some things can be resolved politically while others cannot. This incident over Ms. Jeon belongs to the latter, because this is about appointing the chief justice of the Constitutional Court, which judges whether matters are constitutional or not. The chief justice of the Constitutional Court should be a symbol of constitutionality. No matter how urgent it may be, if a person with flaws and involved in scandals was appointed, the result, including a controversy over legitimacy, would leave a vacuum in the Constitution.
President Roh Moo-hyun and the Uri Party have pointed out that since the 1987 revisision of the Constitution, which stipulated the establishment of the Constitutional Court, all three chief justices were from outside the court. However, regardless of what happened in the past, malpractices should be corrected the moment they are perceived as being wrong.
In the appointment process for Ms. Jeon, the process was not the only problem. The Constitution allows the chief justice to be reappointed. However, to make her resign before her tenure ends in order to prolong her term as the chief from three years to six years is an infringement on the next president’s right.
If the National Assembly’s confirmation process was pushed ahead despite the struggle from the opposition party, Ms. Jeon’s burden would only become greater. If the “legal process” of hearings on the nominee and approval of employment had taken place as the Democratic Party, Democratic Labor Party and the People First Party insisted, that would have been only a political solution. That would not erase the legal flaws in Ms. Jeon’s nomination. Even if nominee Jeon was approved, if provisional disposition was applied for suspension of her duties, the period in which the chief justice was not in office would only be prolonged.
President Roh should find a new nominee. An even better resolution would be for Ms. Jeon to refuse her nomination in order to reduce the burden on the president. That is the right way to save face and to become a model of abiding by the Constitution. The people who caused this scandal must take responsibility for it.
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