Thu, Oct 13, 2016 - Page 3 News List

President’s picks all qualified: evaluation committee

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

All of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominations to the Council of Grand Justices are qualified, a civic evaluation committee said yesterday, although members of a civic watchdog group said a lack of information meant their approval would be withheld.

A review committee formed by the civic groups that comprise the Alliance for Civic Oversight of Supreme Court Justice Nominees gave all seven of Tsai’s nominees a passing score of at least seven out of 10, with Judicial Yuan president nominee and former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) receiving the highest ranking.

Committee members — judges, academics and lawyers nominated by the alliance — assigned scores for character, personality traits, professional knowledge and knowledge of constitutional law and human rights.

The nominees for Judicial Yuan president and vice president were rated on their judicial reform policies, with a “pass” or “fail” grade assigned based on their average score.

Grand Justice nominee Chang Chiung-wen (張瓊文) received the lowest ranking, barely making the seven-point cut-off after receiving sub-par marks for professional knowledge and human rights, with the evaluation citing a lack of academic publications and civic activism.

Judicial Yuan vice presidential nominee Tsai Chung-tun (蔡炯燉) received sub-par marks for constitutional law and human rights, while Grand Justice nominee Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄) received a sub-par score for professional knowledge.

Taipei Society representative Chiou Wen-tsong (邱文聰) said that Tsai Chung-tun only passed because of strong marks for his judicial reform views, while adding that substantial information might have been left out of the evaluation process.

“Because we do not have all of the information, it is possible that we have not received some negative information on past actions, which might disqualify the nominees,” he said.

Other alliance members said that Chang and Grand Justice nominee Huang Chao-yuan (黃昭元) declined to return evaluation committee questionnaires.

“Unless there is a law in place requiring nominees to provide this information, there will be limits to even the best efforts of civil society,” Chiou said, adding that yesterday’s hearing at the Legislative Yuan was a meaningless formality.

“The nominees were not even required to attend, so there are huge questions over whether the hearings can provide substantive review,” he said.

Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Kao Jung-chih (高榮志) said that Hsu’s response on the issue of homosexual marriage was “vague,” with Hsu's response leaving open the possibility that homosexual marriage should be rejected if it could be demonstrated that homosexuality was “abnormal.

The Awakening Foundation — a feminist group — declined to attend yesterday’s press conference to avoid giving the appearance of endorsing the nominees, he said.

The foundation released a statement criticizing Hsu, Tsai, Chang and Huang, saying they had not made clear their positions on “same-sex marriage and other gender issues.”

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