Poland considers law forcing its top justices’ resignations; ABA voices concern


Poland parliament

The lower house of the Polish parliament.


The upper house of Poland’s parliament is voting Friday on legislation that would force its 83 Supreme Court justices to resign and give the Law & Justice Party control over their replacements.

In a statement released Thursday—when the Law & Justice Party passed the bill in the Polish parliament’s lower house—ABA President Linda A. Klein noted that the proposal follows other troubling developments, including the Polish government’s refusal to seat judges appointed by the Constitutional Tribunal, and comply with judgments of the tribunal.

“An independent judiciary is a vital check and balance in a democratic society and essential to maintaining the rule of law. The ABA will be closely monitoring the situation and supporting efforts to preserve the independence of the judiciary in Poland,” the statement reads.

The European Union has said that the pending legislation, if passed, would violate democracy’s separation of powers in Poland, UPI reports. If the legislation is passed, the EU has warned that it will consider implementing Article 7, a sanction that removes a country’s EU voting rights. According to the news agency, the sanction has never been used before.

Some Poland residents think that the court comes from the country’s communist times, and is corrupt, Tomasz Sakiewicz, the editor of the right-wing newspaper Gazeta Polska, told Public Radio International.

There was also a large protest Thursday against the proposed legislation at the presidential palace, CNN reports. Since it’s been in power, the Law & Justice Party has also placed more restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly, and created media laws that make it more difficult to have an independent press.

Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who now is president of the European council, has said that under the Law & Justice party’s leadership, the country is in danger of losing decades of progress, The Guardian reports.

“They transport us—in the political sense—in time and in space, backwards and eastwards. The president most certainly thinks otherwise. But not even the deepest differences can absolve us from our duty to work together for the good and safety of our mother country,” Tusk said after speaking with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda.

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