By Jarek Marciniak
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, the parliament was presented with a proposal of the bill introducing two legislations on the Constitutional Tribunal: the legislation on the status of the judges of the Constitutional Tribunal and the legislation on the organisation and procedure of the Tribunal.
This new bill should be called ‘The Act of Appointing the Chair of the Constitutional Tribunal by the President of Poland on the Merit of the Candidate’s Allegiance with and the Approval of the Law and Justice political party’.
There is no regulation in this legislation, which does not violate the fundamental principles of law and order of any state, even such which keep up a mere pretence of being a state of constitutional democracy. Not to mention the government’s acting with common decency, because this is a concept long rejected by the ruling camp.
The bill says that the respective legislation pertaining to the election of the new Chair of the Constitutional Tribunal are effective on the day of their proclamation. Moreover, the bill, albeit in an unconstitutional manner – ‘makes it possible’ (suggests?) for the old serving judges to retire. They will be allowed to do so, if they don’t like the ‘newly introduced’ principles governing their duties as judges of the CT.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, do you think you have seen it all? Nothing of the sort! The bill clearly states that, if the General Assembly of the Judges of the CT elects the new chair now, this election will not be valid, because … this bill invalidates this. THE BILL!
The act which annuls a choice of a person for a constitutionally protected office!
Ladies and gentlemen, do you think that the proposed act defines any powers of the Deputy Chair of the Tribunal? It does not! The president of the Republic of Poland, through a resolution signed by the PM Beata Szydlo, is going to pick a judge who is going to fill the vacancy and fulfil the role of the Chair of the Constitutional Tribunal! The judge is going to perform all duties of the Chair of the Tribunal, and not only those necessary to initiate the procedure of selecting a new Chair.
Interestingly, the legislation defines requirements for the temporary chair in such a way that – as you might have guessed – only the judge Przylebska qualifies for it.
Moreover, the legislation defining the changes introduces a special procedure which can be carried out only once – now -because it can refer only to the post currently filled by Professor Rzeplinski.
Is this a scandal? Scandal is not a strong enough word to describe this. Pettiness of the people who wrote this legislation is further proven by the fact that the act defines the way in which everyone currently holding a post in the Tribunal is going to lose their job. Of course, it is going to happen only if they do not agree to the “new conditions” proposed by… the new Chair of the Tribunal.
There is a saying that we do not need to like one another to respect and be decent towards one another, not to lie through one’s teeth – it is enough if we are just decent. This decency is clearly missing in Law and Justice, but, at this stage, it does not come as a surprise.