More than 500 justices on Tuesday demanded that the chief justice of the Supreme Court be elected by lower-court justices as a means of reforming the judicial system, following widespread public outrage over recent verdicts rendered by the court.
Three Taipei District Court justices — Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇), Wu Chiu-hung (吳秋宏) and Yang Kun-chiao (楊坤樵) — held a press conference to announce a campaign to reform the system for appointing the Supreme Court president, who has been roundly criticized for a number of recent rulings.
In one of these cases, Lin said, Supreme Court justices ruled that the lower courts should investigate to see if a child who was allegedly a victim of sexual assault had “consented” to the act. The ruling triggered a “white rose” protest movement against the justices.
These types of inept rulings have sparked widespread criticism that the country’s Supreme Court justices are completely out of touch with today’s reality, said the three lower court judges, who vowed to “take away the dinosaurs’ warm beds.”
They said they represent the Action Alliance of Justices to Elect the Supreme Court Chief Justice, which they said has received signatures of support from 518 of the nation’s 1,888 justices.
The alliance’s foremost demand is the election of the Supreme Court chief justice, because “grassroot-level justices know who is suitable for the job.”
Of the 518, only seven are High Court or second-trial justices and none are from the Supreme Court — the target of the demands for judicial reform.
Lin urged whoever is elected as the nation’s president on Jan. 14 to support judicial reform.
Judicial Yuan President Rai Hau-min (賴浩敏) said in response that flaws in the judicial system could not be rectified by merely changing the Supreme Court president.
An ad hoc committee reviewing the personnel system at the Judicial Yuan has been looking at all the issues related to “realistic reform” of the judicial system, Rai said.
“It will not evade any issue,” Rai said.