Tags: poland | judicial | court

Overreach in Poland Leads to New Justice Appointments

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 08:49 AM

The domestic political scene in Poland has recently become the target of one-sided and unfair treatment by the international liberal media.

Matters relating to Poland’s national judiciary, and particularly the relationship of its legislative and judicial branches, has come under attack from left-of-center politicians and journalists, both in and outside of the country.

The current Law and Justice Party government won a landslide victory in Poland’s last national elections. The incumbent Civic Platform Party lost overwhelmingly at the polls in a stinging rebuke of its failed domestic policies and various scandals under its time in office.

After this electoral drubbing, but before it left office, the previous government employed a tactic that Americans who know their own history will appreciate. The outgoing Polish president attempted to pack the Polish Constitutional Tribunal — the nation’s highest court — with several new judges in attempt to protect failed policies enacted during its term in office.

American presidents have tried and failed to do the same. John Adams’ “midnight appointments” at the end of his term were vigorously opposed by the incoming administration of Thomas Jefferson. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s infamous attempt at packing the U.S. Supreme Court to protect his favorite legislative enactments in the 1930s was seen as naked grab for power and ultimately rejected by the American political system.

Most recently, President Obama has seen his nomination of a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice in the last year of his administration widely resisted by Congress on the grounds that the winner of the upcoming presidential election should make that choice, since it will affect the balance of power on America’s highest constitutional tribunal.

Observers can agree or disagree with how the American political process ultimately handled these matters relating to the distribution of power between the branches of government in the U.S., but we should all agree that they were and are internal matters that are the business of the American people and their elected representatives to sort out. They are decidedly none of Europe’s business, and certainly none of the business of international bodies. Indeed, Americans would bristle at any attempt of outsiders to meddle in these issues.

After the defeated outgoing administration packed the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, the next administration merely undid this overreach, and re-established the primacy of the Polish parliamentary enactments over judicial decrees.

In a particularly egregious breach of diplomatic authority, Donald Franciszek Tusk, former prime minister of Poland and a founder of the Civic Platform Party, overwhelmingly defeated in the last election, has used his current position as president of the European Council to unfairly criticize the internal affairs of the current Polish government.

Imagine how the vast majority of Americans would react if the head of the U.N. decided to meddle in the current dispute between our president and Congress over the next Supreme Court justice.

Different countries have historically had very different national judicial systems. In Great Britain, acts of parliament are the final law of the land, and cannot be overturned by the courts. The French Constitution severely limits the power of its courts to rule on acts of parliament. Even the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly define a power of judicial review of acts of Congress. The power was inferred by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison.

Poland should be judged by the international community on how it relates to mutual security concerns and economic stability in Europe. On both of these important counts, the new government in Poland has proven to be a reliable partner to NATO and the EU. It has increased its defense budget and armed forces to counter the growing Russian threat to Central Europe; and its economy continues to grow at the fastest pace in Europe.

If helping keep Europe free and prosperous are the touchstones by which Poland’s government is fairly measured, the current Law and Justice government is off to a strong start. And by this same measurement it has earned the right to be free from outside interference that all free nations abjure. Let democracy work in Poland.

Edmund Janniger is special representative for global strategic communication of the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Poland.













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The Law and Justice Party government won a landslide victory in Poland’s last national elections. The incumbent Civic Platform Party attempted to add to the country's judicial system on its way out, which led to the new administration undoing such breaches.
poland, judicial, court
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2016-49-02
Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 08:49 AM
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