Drop out, Mr. Cho

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Drop out, Mr. Cho

The constitution is a set of fundamental laws according to which a state is governed. Therefore, Article One of the Korean Constitution begins with the statement: Korea is a democratic republic. As our Constitutional Court seeks to settle various disputes involving constitutionality, its nine judges must have a positive - and clear - view of the state.

With that critical requirement in mind, we are deeply concerned about the attitudes of attorney Cho Yong-whan - a managing partner at the Jipyong & Jisung law firm and a judicial nominee. When asked by lawmakers at his confirmation hearing Tuesday about how he viewed North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan warship, Cho said that although he trusted the results of the government’s investigation, “I am not convinced that the North was to blame for the attack because I didn’t see [the evidence] myself.”

His statement translates into a denial of the North’s involvement in the attack. We are dumfounded at his strange assertion that he can’t be assured of the North’s accountability just because he was not on the scene, which reminds us of the wild reasoning used by blind followers of North Korea.

Would he say in court that he couldn’t accept a piece of evidence because he didn’t see the crime scene with his own eyes? That’s nothing less than a concoction of sly rhetoric.

Moreover, Cho was found to have contributed an opinion piece to a newspaper in the 1980s, in which he wrote: “The Syngman Rhee administration was a regime that was set up under the absolute influence of the U.S. Military Government in Korea.” That also triggered a shower of questions about his beliefs. Judges must render verdicts that are as lucid and articulate as possible, but is he capable of that?

He also has a record of faking his residential documents, which resulted in his name being pulled from the list of candidates for public office on several occasions during the Roh Moo-hyun administration. At the latest hearing, he also said, “Because of that, I wondered whether I was worthy of a government job.”

Nominees for high-ranking positions in the current administration have acted as if there is nothing wrong with their faking residential information for personal gains. But Song used to be with the civic group Lawyers for a Democratic Society, which has consistently argued that those who fake their residential documents are not qualified for public service. If so, he should already have dropped out of the confirmation process and refused a judicial position.
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