Who shakes the court?The impeachment trial at the Constitutional Court will decide the future of this nation. It affects the scheduling of next presidential election, organization of the administration and the normalization of everyday lives. But politicians are out to shake the trial procedure to serve their interests.
Moon Jae-in, former leader of the main opposition and a frontrunner in polls among the presidential contenders, urged politicians and people to protest more to finalize the impeachment on the president. He then pressed the Constitutional Court to speed up the trial process. Choo Mi-ae, head of the main opposition Democratic Party, supported Moon by criticizing the court for dragging the trial beyond this month. She pledged to lead protests to demand the extension of independent counsel probe against President Park Geun-hye and her inner circle and impeach her as soon as possible.
The Democratic Party plans to join with smaller opposition parties for a joint protest to speed up the impeachment process. They have suddenly turned attention to the impeachment trial from preparation for presidential campaign amid fears of delay in the court decision due to the president’s defense strategy to buy more time. If a decision is not possible before March 13 when acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi is to retire, supporters of Park could question the legitimacy of a ruling from the remaining seven out of a nine-member bench of the highest court. A clash and national divide between critics and supporters of Park could generate mayhem.
The Constitutional Court should not be swayed by any outside rumors and criticisms. We are discrediting the authority of the court as well as majority public opinion and legislative vote on impeachment. We must have firm faith in the top court. No one should order it around. We must promise to respect its decision. It is our obligation.
Moon and the main opposition must respect the national and constitutional order. Instead of leading public protests, they should manifest support for the court.
It is childish to go the streets against rising protests from ultra rightists. They are only aggravating public anxiety.
Their demand for an extension in the independent counsel probe contradicts cries for speedier impeachment trial. If the government extends the probe by another 50 days, the trial would also have to be pushed back. Only the court has the decision over impeachment process. Faith in the court is tantamount to our defense of our Constitutional values.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 9, Page 34
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