Fri, Sep 02, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Hsu Tzong-li nomination sparks debate

CONSTITUTIONAL CONUNDRUM:The nominee for Judicial Yuan president stepped down as a grand justice nearly five years ago and some have questioned his eligibility

By Su Fang-ho and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li, left, and Supreme Court Judge Tsai Chung-tun, the government’s nominees for president and vice president of the Judicial Yuan, attend a press conference at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Presidential Office yesterday sparked a constitutional debate by nominating former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to be president of the Judicial Yuan.

The Presidential Office nominated Hsu and Supreme Court Judge Tsai Chung-tun as vice president of the Judicial Yuan and has forwarded their nominations, along with five others for the Council of Grand Justices, to the Legislative Yuan for ratification, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said.

The nomination of Hsu and Tsai was based on their practical experience and academic renown, Chen said, adding that the five grand justice nominees — National Chia Yi University professor Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄), Judicial Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Chang Chiung-wen (張瓊文), National Taiwan University law professors Chan San-lin (詹森林) and Huang Chao-yuan (黃昭元), and human rights lawyer Huang Juei-min (黃瑞明) — were selected by a committee vote after five meetings.

Hsu Tzong-li said that he accepted his nomination because he believes it is not unconstitutional, seeing as he stepped down as a grand justice nearly five years ago.

There have been doubts raised about his nomination as the Constitution stipulates that individuals cannot hold a position for two consecutive terms.

A grand justice should step down for four years before they are nominated for another position, as anything sooner than that could affect their ability to independently judge matters, Hsu Tzong-li said.

He suggested that the nation amend the Constitution if the consensus is for grand justices not to hold another office after they step down, adding that the German Constitution clearly states in Article 4 that judges are not allowed consecutive terms nor are they allowed to be appointed again after stepping down.

Hsu Tzong-li also suggested that a constitutional amendment, should it come to that, should include a maximum age for grand justices, adding that the age cap should be set at 70.

Hsu Tzong-li said he would gladly abide by whatever the legislature decides, adding that it would be best if it were to ask for a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices to “settle the matter once and for all.”

According to Presidential Office data, Hsu Tzong-li majored in constitutional studies and served as a member of the Executive Yuan’s Fair Trade Commission and president of the Taiwan Law Society.

Tsai majored in civil law and has previously been a judge at district courts and the Taiwan High Court, the office said.

Hsu Chih-hsiung also majored in constitutional studies with a primary focus on human rights and constitutional government; Chang is well-versed in administrative and civil law and has also been a judge at district courts, the High Court, the High Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court; Huang Juei-min is a lawyer who specializes in civil law and was behind the Legal Aid Act (法律扶助法), the Judges Act (法官法) and the Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act (刑事妥速審判法); Chan specializes in civil law with a primary focus on civil contracts, German civil law, comparative civil law and consumer protection; and Huang Chao-yuan is an expert in constitutional law and international law, with a primary focus on judicial investigations into unconstitutional acts, human rights, international human rights and national status, the office added.

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