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Legislature confirms new grand justices amid opposition boycott

06/21/2023 05:07 PM
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New Power Party Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (center, in black polo shirt) casts her ballot at the Legislature in Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo June 21, 2023
New Power Party Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (center, in black polo shirt) casts her ballot at the Legislature in Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo June 21, 2023

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) All four nominees tapped by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to fill the upcoming grand justice vacancies on the Constitutional Court were confirmed Wednesday in a vote boycotted by two of the Legislature's three opposition parties.

The newly approved grand justices are Supreme Court Judge Tsai Tsai-chen (蔡彩貞), Control Yuan Secretary-General Chu Fu-meei (朱富美), National Taiwan University law professor Chen Chung-wu (陳忠五), and attorney Greg Yo (尤伯祥).

Despite the absence of lawmakers from the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) on the legislative floor, they each received more than 60 votes backing their nomination, surpassing the threshold set by the law.

According to the law, a grand justice nomination is approved when more than 50 percent of all lawmakers vote in favor of it, which means each of the four nominees requires a minimum 57 votes in the current 113-seat Legislature.

The grand justice confirmation process has been criticized by opposition parties as "hasty" and "reckless" as lawmakers were given only 22 days to review the nominations put forth by Tsai at the end of May.

Wednesday's vote, participated in by lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition New Power Party, followed a public hearing and a legislative session on the issue earlier this week.

In a press release issued after the vote, the TPP not only criticized the confirmation process but also questioned, without elaborating, the affinity between some of the nominees to the DPP government.

The party was likely referring to Yo, as some of the TPP and KMT lawmakers had cast doubt on the attorney's competency to serve as grand justice on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan's official name.

Yo, 54, is best known for providing pro bono support to student protesters charged with storming into the Cabinet during the 2014 protests against the then-KMT government's plan to promote greater economic integration with China.

Over the years, Yo has worked either at government agencies or with civil society groups to promote transitional justice and push for judicial reforms.

However, the KMT recently accused Yo of encouraging a witness to give false testimony during a court case 18 years ago in which he served as a defense attorney. Yo has denied any misconduct in the case, adding he was not charged with instigating perjury.

Yo and the other three nominees were picked by Tsai to replace departing justices Huang Hung-hsia (黃虹霞), Wu Chen-han (吳陳鐶), Tsai Ming-cheng (蔡明誠), and Lin Chun-i (林俊益) as their terms end on Sept. 30.

In a press release issued by the Presidential Office, Tsai Ing-wen thanked the Legislature for approving her nominations while urging the four newly confirmed grand justices to "do their best to safeguard constitutional integrity and protect human rights."

The Constitutional Court, responsible for interpreting the ROC constitution and reviewing final court decisions for their constitutionality, is staffed by 15 grand justices appointed to eight-year terms at staggered intervals.

With four new nominations confirmed, the number of women serving as grand justices will reach a record five.

(By Teng Pei-ju)


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