Legislature approves grand justice nominations


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Legislative Yuan approved President Ma Ying-jeou’s nominations for five grand justices on Friday despite a boycott of the vote by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.

The nominees were Huang Mao-jung, a law professor at National Taiwan University; Chen Min, a law professor at National Chengchi University; Yeh Pai-hsiu, a judge at the Supreme Administrative Court; Chen Chun-sheng, dean of the Law School of National Taipei University; and Chen Hsin-min, a research fellow with the Academia Sinica’s preparatory office for the Institute of Law.

They will replace four grand justices whose terms will soon expire and another one, Peng Feng-chih, who has been tapped to serve as president of the Supreme Administrative Court.

The minority DPP refused to take part in the vote to protest against what they described as a failure of the nominations.

According to DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling, the nominations “failed to impress the public” because none of the nominees — all of whom are professors at some of the country’s most prestigious schools, judges or fellows at Taiwan’s highest-level research institute — “enjoy prestige or a respectful status in the academic sector.”

Kuan claimed that their appointments will turn the Constitutional Court into a “conservative, reactionary” institution. “The DPP refuses such nominations to safeguard the dignity of the Constitution,” she said.

According to Lin Shu-fen, another DPP legislator, while the grand justices are supposed to be impartial and independent, the five candidates were nominated to the positions because of their relationship with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) or Ma.

Lin said Chen Hsin-min is a recipient of the KMT- sponsored Sun Yat-sen Scholarship, while Chen Min appeared in a campaign ad for Ma’s 2008 presidential bid to endorse his campaign platform.