Sun, Apr 10, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Doubts still remain about president’s judicial nominees

NOT SO SUPREME:Some KMT lawmakers have said they would not vote for a judicial nominee who held a green card while serving on the Supreme Court

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

A number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers remained unconvinced of the suitability of two Council of Grand Justices nominees who previously held permanent residency in other countries yesterday, despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) endorsement.

Chen Be-yue (陳碧玉), the head of the Judicial Yuan’s Judicial Personnel Study Center, was a US citizen and then held a US green card for 18 months when serving on the Supreme Court. Another grand justice nominee, Lo Chang-fa (羅昌發), once held permanent residency in Canada.

Ma was quoted by Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chuang (羅智強) as saying on Friday that the nomination was a “proper decision.”

“We have so many talented individual who devote themselves to their judicial duties, why did [the president] have to nominate [Chen and Lo Chang-fa]? They should not have been included in the shortlist in the first place,” KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said yesterday.

right and proper

Ting said he disagreed with Ma that holding permanent residency abroad in the past did not make them unsuitable for the position as they had relinquished the status.

“I cannot accept that. They won’t have my vote,” Ting said.

In light of the fact that judicial reform has been one of the key issues in the mind of the public, whether a person has a strong sense of mission, is dedicated to his or her judicial duties and has faith in the country were important criteria to assess eligibility, he said.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said that that “if Chen remains on the list, it is likely she will not be confirmed.”

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) yesterday urged the KMT caucus to join his party’s plan to boycott the review of the list.

“The Presidential Office was lax in the nomination process and that is why so many controversies have arisen. In order to show his respect for the legislature, the president cannot just replace nominees again. Rather, he should present a new list,” Gao said.

judicial reform

In view of the disapproval voiced by some lawmakers, Lo last night said it was unnecessary for the president to re-nominate candidates as all four nominees are suitable candidates.

“We will seek support from people in a variety of circles,” he said.

The Central Personnel Administration has said that Chen had not broken any laws because the Nationality Act (國籍法) does not prohibit people who have permanent residence status in foreign countries from serving in public office and that Chen had renounced her US nationality when she served as a judge.

The Nationality Act stipulates that holders of dual citizenship must surrender their foreign citizenship before assuming public office.

Chen’s case has also resulted in fervent discussion on an internal Judicial Yuan Web site called “Judges’ forum,” the Chinese---language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday.

internal dissent

“If public servants acquiring foreign residency status or US green cards is not breaking the law, [Chen’s] colleagues should also apply,” an anonymous judge wrote.

Another anonymous judge commented that although the judicial Yuan has required every judge to fill out a questionnaire on whether they possess dual nationality or foreign permanent residence, it appeared that such queries had only a superficial effect.

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