Sat, Aug 27, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Possible judicial pick challenged

TIME SERVED:National Taiwan University law professor Chen Chih-lung said that Hsu Tzong-li had an eight-year term and the Constitution prohibits an additional term

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li is pictured in an undated photograph. Legal experts yesterday challenged his eligibility for possible nomination as head of the Judicial Yuan

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Legal experts yesterday said that the Constitution bars former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) from heading the Judicial Yuan, following reports that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was considering nominating him for the position.

National Taiwan University professor of law Chen Chih-lung (陳志龍) said that Hsu served as a grand justice from 2003 to 2011 — a mandated eight-year term — and an amendment to the Constitution prohibits an additional term.

In the Additional Articles of the Constitution, Article 5 says: “Each grand justice of the Judicial Yuan shall serve a term of eight years, independent of the order of appointment to office, and shall not serve consecutive terms. The grand justices serving as president and vice president of the Judicial Yuan shall not enjoy the guarantee of an eight-year term.”

“That article was part of an amendment to prevent grand justices from bowing to the wishes of political figures when making constitutional interpretations,” Chen said. “Hsu’s appointment to serve as a grand justice again is unconstitutional and it would be an international joke.”

The amendment says that the Judicial Yuan has 15 grand justices, while the president and vice president of the body are to be selected from among them, being “nominated and, with the consent of the Legislative Yuan, appointed by the president of the Republic” of China.

Presidential Office officials said they have consulted legal experts regarding the issue.

The appointment would be legal and there would be no breach of the Constitution in nominating Hsu, the officials said.

Hsu would be “reappointed,” not “serving consecutive terms,” which are two different concepts, they said.

Hsu was not continuing as a grand justice to serve for another term, because he retired from the post, the officials said. Academics and experts on constitutional law were consulted and they concurred that the move would not be a breach of Article 5, therefore the government will go ahead with Hsu’s nomination.

Tsai has faced a number of obstacles filling the Judicial Yuan’s presidency and No. 2 post, with her first picks, Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission Chief Commissioner Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) and Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang (林錦芳) withdrawing over past controversies.

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