President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that screening of candidates for four seats on the Council of Grand Justices should be fast-tracked to ensure the court’s normal operations.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of a seven-member panel formed earlier this week to screen candidates for the constitutional court bench, Ma said a short list of candidates should be finalized as soon as possible so that the Legislative Yuan can vote on it during the current session.
The terms of four of the 15 incumbent grand justices — Hsu Pi-hu (徐璧湖) Lin Tzu-yi (林子儀), Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) and Hsu Yu-hsiu (許玉秀) — will end on Sept. 30, and according to the Additional Articles of the Constitution, the president must nominate and appoint, with the consent of the legislature, four new justices to fill the positions.
Aiming to have the new -justices take the bench on Oct. 1 as required by existing regulations, the president wants the legislature to deal with nominations before it goes into summer recess at the end of May.
Grand justices are authorized to interpret the Constitution and unify the interpretation of laws and ordinances.
Ma said the role of grand justices is even more crucial in today’s judicial climate, where 76 percent of cases involving constitutional and legal interpretations are related to the public’s rights and interests.
Although haste was the theme in his address, Ma still asked members of the special panel to screen nominees based on a process that is open, fair and just.
Ma has named Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and six legal experts to staff the panel. Siew serves as the panel’s convener, while two former Judicial Yuan presidents, Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生) and Lai Ing-jaw (賴英照), will be its deputy conveners.
The four other members include former Judicial Yuan vice president Hsieh Tsai-chuan (謝在全) and three former justices — Wu Keng (吳庚), Wang Tze-chien (王澤鑑) and Wang Ho-hsiung (王和雄).