Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Poland's Government Forcing Supreme Court Justices To Step Down

Poland is in the grips of a constitutional crisis, with the head of the Supreme Court standing in open defiance of the president — whose party enacted a new law that will force nearly 40 percent of the court's judges into early retirement.

The legislation, enacted on Tuesday, reduces the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 65, triggering the immediate removal of 27 of 72 judges, including the highest-ranking member of the court, Malgorzata Gersdorf. Additionally, the court would be expanded to include 120 justices through government appointments — in effect, giving the ruling party the power to reshape two-thirds of the Supreme Court.

The Polish government also intends to create a "disciplinary chamber," which will grant the government authority to reopen any case from the past 20 years to be reviewed by government-friendly judges.

This is considered by critics to be the latest in a three-year onslaught of authoritarian reforms to the judiciary system by President Andrzej Duda and his right-wing Law and Justice Party, known as PiS. Duda contends the overhaul is necessary to root out corruption by judges dating back to the communist era and fix an inefficient system.

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