15 Dec 2017

No legal experience necessary to become a constitutional judge

Why appoint a judge when you can employ a politician or a public notary at the Constitutional Court? With this move the Slovak president breaks a three-year-long impasse.  

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
No legal experience necessary to become a constitutional judge - NewsMavens
The Constitutional Court of Slovakia. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

politics, conflict

After three years of uncertainty and political games, the Constitutional Court of Slovakia has thirteen appointed judges again. President Andrej Kiska appointed three of them -- Jana Lašáková, Miroslav Duriš and Mojmír Mamojka. A politician, a notary and a professor of law who does not have any publications in significant international journals.

In 2014, the Slovak parliament proposed seven candidates for the newly vacated spots in the court. The president refused to appoint them claiming that they have no connection to constitutional law. He did not understand on what grounds these people applied to become constitutional judges.

Visibly, he had a change of mind this week; pressured by the remaining constitutional judges, he ultimately obeyed.

However, speculations remain about the legal framework as well as the underlying motives of the presidential decision. And it does little to boost trust in the Slovak judicial system.

Details from the story:

  • Three new constitutional judges were appointed by the Slovak President Andrej Kiska on December 14.
  • Two of the new judges have close ties to the ruling party Smer.
  • Mojmír Mamojka is a professor of law without any publications in recognized journals. He is a former MP of the party Smer.
  • Jana Lašáková was an MP of the party Smer until this week. She was well known for her thumb (yes, thumb), with which she signaled to other MPs whether they should vote in favor or against a proposal.
  • Miroslav Duriš is a public notary. When he received the nomination for the seat at the Constitutional Court, he refused to take a language test. It is unclear if he speaks any foreign languages.
  • The term of office for constitutional judges is twelve years.
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