The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday backed the party caucus’ call for a constitutional interpretation of former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li’s (許宗力) nomination as Judicial Yuan president before a legislative review begins.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should not force through a review and approval of the nomination before controversy over the constitutionality of Hsu being reappointed a grand justice — as Hsu being Judicial Yuan president would be an ex officio one — is settled.
KMT legislators have cited Article 5 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, which stipulates that “each grand justice of the Judicial Yuan shall serve a term of eight years, independent of the order of appointment to office, and shall not serve consecutive terms” to back its argument.
“Insofar as the public has doubts about Hsu’s reappointment [after he left the post of grand justice in 2011] amid disputes over whether his reappointment would count as a consecutive term, a constitutional interpretation is required to clarify the issue,” Chow said.
Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定), the previous nominee for Judicial Yuan president, withdrew because of public criticism, and “Hsu’s case, which involves the question of constitutionality, should be handled with the same wariness,” Chow added.
He called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) not to “pay lip service to morals and transitional justice, while allowing her own people to run afoul of the Constitution.”
KMT caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) on Tuesday said the KMT was not planning to block the nominations of the five grand justices, but only requesting that a legislative review of Hsu’s nomination be suspended before a constitutional interpretation is made.
The legislature convened at least two cross-caucus negotiations in the past week to discuss the confirmation hearing schedule, but failed to reach a consensus as the KMT caucus insisted on separating reviews of nominees for grand justices and those for Judicial Yuan president and vice president.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said that approving the nominations is a legislative right and should follow legislative regulations.
“When a vote is needed [to approve the nominations], then a vote it is,” he added.
DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said considering that the nominations need to be approved by Oct. 31 — before which two public hearings and a three-day review have to be held — and that the KMT caucus has refused to undersign a cross-caucus negotiation consensus, the case will now have to be decided in a legislative floor meeting.
Putting the issue to a floor vote would favor the DPP, which commands a legislative majority.
Additional reporting by CNA
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