Yesterday’s legislative questioning of the Council of Grand Justices nominees was “empty and slack,” the Grand Justices Nomination Oversight Alliance said, calling for an extension of the nominee review, which took just two days for the four candidates.
The legislative review of the four nominees had been set to last only two days: one day for a public hearing and one day for legislator questioning.
Alliance member Kao Jung-chih (高榮志) said that the public hearing on Wednesday, which the nominees were not required to attend, saw a poor turnout of legislators, adding that it is doubtful that the generic remarks made by invited academics was useful to the lawmakers.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Kao, the executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation, added that a lawmaker during the public hearing revealed that the Presidential Office refused to provide information about the grand justice nominees, citing personal information protection.
“Grand justices are the country’s crucial positions — ‘personal information protection’ cannot justify the Presidential Office or the nominees refusing to provide information [or answer questions from the legislature],” Kao said.
The alliance urged the legislature to “extend the review period” for a “strict” review.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
“The review should adopt civil groups and academics’ views, for which a sufficient period of time should be allowed for them to evaluate each nominee. One nominee should be granted at least three days of public hearings and two days of review, and the review report should be made public one month before the legislature votes to confirm the nominations,” the alliance said.
Despite the alliance’s criticism, the legislature completed questioning yesterday and is scheduled to conduct the confirmation vote today.
The questioning of the nominees touched on topics including the abolition of capital punishment, same-sex marriage, gender equality, Tainan Mayor William Lai’s (賴清德) boycott of Tainan City Council meetings and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “separatism.”
The 15 legislators present were given 15 minutes each to question the four nominees, who are lawyer Huang Horng-shya (黃虹霞), Deputy Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶), National Taiwan University law professor Tsai Ming-cheng (蔡明誠) and Shilin District Court President Lin Jyun-yi (林俊益).
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴) asked the four to reveal their support for various contentious issues by a show of hands.
On the issues of same-sex marriage and abolishing capital punishment, none raised their hands.
Huang, Tsai and Lin agreed that adultery should be decriminalized, while Wu, Tsai and Lin said red-light districts and special gambling zones should be permitted and none supported lashing as a form of punishment.
All four said Lai should not avoid the supervision of the city council, when asked about his boycott by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛).
Pan and KMT Legislator Wu Yu-jen (吳育仁) brought up the DPP’s tenet of Taiwan independence and asked whether it violates the ROC Constitution for its “separatism,” echoing what Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), KMT’s presidential primary candidate, had said a day before.
The four said that upholding that view is part of the political freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, with Huang saying that all citizens should also abide by the Constitution, according to which the name of the nation is the Republic of China.
DDP Legislator Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) later condemned Wu’s questioning, accusing him of turning the review into a “political interrogation.”
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