Polish court verdict appears to undermine 5 new judges
Monika Scislowska (Associated Press) - December 9, 2015 - 4:08pm

WARSAW — Poland's Constitutional Tribunal has struck down parts of laws passed by the new ruling party aimed at appointing judges to the court who sympathize with the new government's conservative outlook.

The verdict yesterday was the latest twist in an unprecedented legal drama gripping Poland revolving around influence in the Constitutional Court, the highest arbiter of law. It appears to undermine the appointment of five new judges to the 15-member court by the ruling Law and Justice party.

Shortly before the court convened yesterday, President Andrzej Duda swore in the last of those five judges — nominations that critics are calling an illegal power grab.

The conflict began in October when the previous government, led by the Civic Platform party, made five nominations to the constitutional court shortly before losing power. Only three of those have been declared valid by the court.

Law and Justice passed new legislation last month to void all five appointments in order to place its own party loyalists on the court.

Critics and law experts then took the Law and Justice party's five judicial appointments to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the new parliament used an unconstitutional procedure to appoint the new judges.

The tribunal ruled yesterday that parliamentary procedure was in line with the constitution but added some individual provisions in the new law were unconstitutional.

The court said yesterday it was not making a direct ruling on the appointment of the judges but declared the excessive number of judges appointed this year was against the constitution.

CIVIC PLATFORM CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL COURT FIVE JUDGES LAW LAW AND JUSTICE NEW PARTY PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA
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