DUP ups pressure on chief justice nomination

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DUP ups pressure on chief justice nomination

The main opposition Democratic United Party yesterday intensified its pressure on the Blue House to withdraw the nomination of Lee Dong-heub as chief justice of the Constitutional Court, calling the move “unacceptable.”

Lee, 61, served on the court’s bench from 2006 until September 2012 and would be the first former Constitutional Court justice to head the court if his nomination is approved by the National Assembly.

The nomination has been criticized by the DUP because of Lee’s past rulings in favor of the Lee Myung-bak administration and because he is from Daegu, where President-elect Park Geun-hye was born.

President Lee Myung-bak consulted the president-elect on the nomination, according to the Blue House.

“Throughout his term as a justice, Lee turned a blind eye to guaranteeing people their basic human rights,” members of the DUP’s legislation and judiciary committee said in a statement. “[Lee] is not suitable and it will be difficult [for him] to earn the people’s trust and respect.”

If the presidential office does not accept the DUP’s request, the party is expected to heavily scrutinize Lee during the confirmation hearing.

“If [the Blue House] does not withdraw the nomination or the nominee does not voluntarily withdraw, we will form a strong verification team at the confirmation hearing to disapprove Lee at any cost,” said Representative Woo Won-shik, the DUP’s vice floor leader, yesterday.

“The confirmation hearing will be the first of its kind for the Park Geun-hye administration,” said lawmaker Park Young-sun, a member of the DUP’s legislation and judiciary committee.

While serving as one of the nine Constitutional Court justices, Lee ruled that the ban on the usage of the Internet for campaigns was constitutional, in contrast to a majority of the justices who said the ban was partly unconstitutional.

The ruling Saenuri Party has said it will not withdraw the nomination.

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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