Grand justice nominee Hwang Jau-yuan (黃昭元) yesterday said he would accept renomination as grand justice or Judicial Yuan president after his term ends, while asserting that no one should be forced to subscribe to a uniform national identification.
During the last legislative review of the grand justice nominees, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) said that the 54-year-old Hwang, the youngest among grand justice nominees, might be renominated as grand justice or Judicial Yuan president.
Wu asked whether Hwang would accept reappointment in light of the controversy over the nomination of former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) as Judicial Yuan president, as the law stipulates that grand justices cannot serve consecutive terms, but does not specify if they can serve a second term.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
“I will accept [a renomination], precisely because there are too many unnecessary debates about [grand justice] reappointment. I would not refuse [renomination] under such pressure,” Hwang said.
The reappointment of Hsu is not unconstitutional, and it has to go through a double approval process — first by the president and then the legislature, Hwang said.
KMT Legislator Wang Hui-mei (王惠美) asked if Hwang identified with the Republic of China (ROC), as Hwang in July had urged the government to replace the national title “ROC” with “Taiwan” in diplomatic settings and claimed that the ROC was a term that might only be used domestically to “satisfy nostalgic needs.”
Hwang said he made the suggestion as he understood the views of other countries about the ROC, and while the ROC is the nation’s official title and something that many identify with, he has yet to see a consensus about the title.
“Democracy has been practiced in Taiwan for years, and we should already have left that [authoritarian] era behind. One should not be forced to express patriotism like in the Cultural Revolution or under Nazi rule,” Hwang said.
Wang asked if Hwang found it contradictory that he has to uphold the Constitution of a nation that he does not identify with.
Hwang said he has struggled intellectually about constitutional issues, but, as a grand justice, he would duly perform his duties.
Asked whether he would be willing to sing the national anthem, Hwang said he was tone-deaf and “had used up the quota of singing the national anthem” for singing it from elementary to high school.
“In a democracy, no one should be forced to express one’s position, including one’s identification with national symbols,” he said.
KMT Legislator Lin Li-chan (林麗嬋) asked Hwang whether the exclusion of Chinese students from the National Health Insurance Program is a violation of the right to equality, and whether it is against the right to employment that Chinese spouses are prohibited from seeking employment in non-sensitive public agencies such as schools.
Hwang said all foreign students should be treated equally, and discussions are still needed on how foreigners can join the National Health Insurance Program.
As for the restrictions on employment of Chinese spouses, he said they were too strict and could be relaxed through legislation.
Although he could not give a formal opinion as a petition for constitutional interpretation about same-sex marriage is being processed, Hwang said he was sympathetic to same-sex couples.
“It is harmful to a person’s basic values and beliefs if people in love cannot form a legal union,” he said.
Grand justice nominee Jan Sheng-lin (詹森林) was also asked about his stance on a number of sensitive issues during a legislative review on Wednesday.
Even before accepting questions from lawmakers, Jan said he supported the abolition of the death penalty, legalizing same-sex marriage, upholding gender equality in male-dominated ancestor worship organizations, decriminalizing adultery, legalizing euthanasia, legalizing surrogacy, and codifying Aboriginal self-determination and autonomy in the Constitution.
Jan’s straightforward manner impressed netizens, with a majority praising his candidness, although some said his action was inappropriate for a grand justice nominee.
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