The New Power Party (NPP) caucus yesterday vowed to strictly review nominees for grand justices, adding that the legislature should not hastily confirm their appointments in an extraordinary session at the end of this month.
“It has been our position that the qualifications of grand justice nominees should be subject to strict scrutiny. We are against the Democratic Progressive Party government’s decision to complete the review in less than one week, including one day for a public hearing, one day for review at the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, and casting votes at the plenary session another day,” NPP Legislator Chen Jiao-hua (陳椒華) said, adding that the schedule would leave little time for civic groups to offer their input.
“We specifically request the judiciary committee to wait at least seven days after the hearing to begin reviewing the nominees. At the committee, the review should last two days, with each of four nominees subject to a half-day of questioning from lawmakers. Therefore, the extraordinary session should not be held at the end of this month,” Chen said.
NPP Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said that the caucus would ask grand justice nominees to provide in writing what they think are human rights implications behind government policies.
“We want to ask them what the Constitution could do to help tackle challenges brought by climate change,” Chiu said.
“Taiwan has been called by some as a ‘hell for pedestrians,’ due to the frequent occurrence of traffic accidents and the cost of living has skyrocketed. We want to know how the nominees view the ‘right to safe passage’ and the ‘right to adequate residence,’ and how the Constitution should be applied to protect these rights,” he said.
“We also want to know if they will deem it unconstitutional if negligence by the executive or legislative branches led to lapses in the protection of basic human rights,” Chiu added.
The caucus would also explore the nominees’ views on gender equality, social policies and labor policies, NPP Chairwoman Claire Wang (王婉諭) said.
“We want to know how they view ancestor worship guilds ignoring women’s right to inheritance, the constitutionality of social policies and if workers’ freedom of association has not been protected due to the restrictions imposed on workers’ unions,” she said.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has nominated Supreme Court Judge Tsai Tsai-chen (蔡彩貞), Control Yuan Secretary-General Chu Fu-mei (朱富美), National Taiwan University law professor Chen Chung-wu (陳忠五) and attorney Greg Yo (尤伯祥) to fill four upcoming vacancies at the Constitutional Court.
If confirmed, the four would replace departing grand justices Huang Hung-hsia (黃虹霞), Wu Chen-han (吳陳鐶), Tsai Ming-cheng (蔡明誠) and Lin Chun-i (林俊益), whose terms are to end on Sept. 30.
The Constitutional Court, responsible for reviewing final court decisions and the constitutionality of laws and regulations in Taiwan, is comprised of 15 grand justices appointed to eight-year terms at staggered intervals.
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