Did they read the ruling?During a recent press conference, ruling Democratic Party (DP) Secretary General Yun Ho-jung questioned the validity of the ruling on South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Kyoung-soo, a close confidant of President Moon Jae-in and a presidential hopeful.
Yun said many criticize the two-year jail term that immediately sent the politician to prison. He pressed the people to raise their voices against the bench for the sake of reform in the judiciary. The ruling party’s strategy planning chief, Kang Hoon-sik, also seconded the idea, slamming the sentence for being baseless.
Ruling party members have been upping their protests against Kim’s sentence since the first trial was held on Jan. 30. On Facebook, DP Rep. Song Young-gil accused the judge of “senselessness, arrogance, recklessness, and [using] an excess of power” for delivering such a harsh ruling to Kim. Another heavyweight DP lawmaker, Park Young-sun, claimed on YouTube that six out of 10 people found the ruling vindictive.
It is rare for the ruling party to protest a court ruling so vehemently. The clash between the ruling power and the judiciary branch can bode poorly for the country’s democracy and legal foundations.
Korean citizens could be affected by the court ruling and choose to protest it over the three remaining years of the administration. Slanderous attacks on a certain judge could also leave a bad precedent.
Gov. Kim was on trial for manipulating public opinion during the presidential election and promising to reward his accomplice with a senior public office title. The ruling has dealt a critical blow to the ruling party as it involves a key aide to the president. It is also premature for some people to speak of impeachment.
The 170-page ruling details how Kim colluded with the organization of an online blogger called Druking. Kim and his supporters should prepare to reverse the ruling in the appeals court instead of outright attacking the judge and the bench. It raises the question of whether the lawmakers fully read the ruling before they chose to offend the judiciary.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 7, Page 30