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Constitutional Court. Draft resolution of the Sejm on changes to the Constitutional Tribunal. Applies to understudies and president Julia Przyłębska

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Stating that several judges were elected to the Constitutional Tribunal in previous years “in flagrant violation of the law” and, consequently, declaring that “Mariusz Muszyński, Justyn Piskorski and Jarosław Wyrembak are not judges of the Constitutional Tribunal” and Julia Przyłębska is not entitled to hold the position of president this body – these are the most important points of the draft resolution on the situation in the Constitutional Tribunal, which is to be considered by the Sejm. The content of the project was obtained by TVN24 reporter Agata Adamek. She spoke more about the proposed changes in the “W Kuluarach” program.

At the next session of the Sejm, on March 6-8, the Sejm is to consider the prepared resolution regarding the Constitutional Tribunal. Representatives of the government, including the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General, have repeatedly announced that the situation in this body will be improved Adam Bodnar.

The draft resolution on the Constitutional Tribunal was received by TVN24 reporter Agata Adamek, which she reported in the “W Kuluarach” program.

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It is to be a resolution “on eliminating the effects of the constitutional crisis of 2015-2023 in the context of the activities of the Constitutional Tribunal.”

The authors of the resolution refer to Art. 7 and art. 194(1) of the Constitution, Art. 6 section 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal of December 3, 2015 and December 9, 2015, as well as judgments of the European Court of Human Rights of May 7, 2021 and December 14, 2023.

Public authorities operate on the basis and within the limits of the law.

The Constitutional Tribunal consists of 15 judges, elected individually by the Sejm for 9 years from among persons with outstanding legal knowledge. Re-election to the Tribunal is inadmissible.

“Mariusz Muszyński, Justyn Piskorski and Jarosław Wyrembak are not judges of the Constitutional Tribunal”

The draft resolution states that the judicial nominations made by the Sejm for judges of the Constitutional Tribunal – in October 2015 (mainly with the votes of PO and PSL) Bronisław Sitek and Andrzej Jan Sokala, in December 2015 (already in the next term of the Sejm, by votes PIS) Mariusz Muszyński, Henryk Cioch and Lech Morawski, in September 2017 Justyn Piskorski (for the deceased Lech Morawski) and in January 2018 Jarosław Wyrembak (for the deceased Henryk Cioch) “were undertaken in gross violation of the law, including the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and thus are deprived of legal force and have not produced the legal effects provided for therein.”

Mariusz MuszyńskiRadek Pietruszka/PAP

In the draft resolution, the Sejm is also to make a similar decision regarding the resolutions of the Sejm (8th term) of November 2015 declaring invalid the resolutions (of the Sejm of the 7th term) of October 2015 appointing Roman Hausner, Andrzej Jakubecki and Krzysztof Ślebzak as judges of the Constitutional Tribunal (elected mainly by the votes of PO and PSL). . “Consequently, the Sejm recognizes that Mariusz Muszyński, Justyn Piskorski and Jarosław Wyrembak are not judges of the Constitutional Tribunal. Numerous judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal are affected by legal defects,” we read in the draft.

The reason for the legal defect is the fact that “Mariusz Muszyński, Justyn Piskorski and Jarosław Wyrembak (and previously Henryk Cioch and Lech Morawski) took part in the judicial activities of the Constitutional Tribunal.”

READ ALSO: “The rebellion in the Constitutional Tribunal results from irritation with what Julia Przyłębska is doing”

In total, the Sejm, in the draft resolution, invalidates ten resolutions adopted in this chamber in previous years regarding the Constitutional Tribunal.

Justyn PiskorskiJakub Kamiński/PAP

Jarosław WyrembakMarcin Obara/PAP

“The position of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal is held by an unauthorized person”

Further on in the draft resolution we read that “the Sejm of the Republic of Poland also recognizes that the function of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal is held by an unauthorized person.” “Julia Przyłębska has been heading the Constitutional Tribunal since December 21, 2016, when the President of the Republic of Poland entrusted her with the function of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal. This election, the correctness of which has been repeatedly questioned, was made without first obtaining the legally required resolution of the General Assembly of Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal,” we read.

Referring to art. 10 section 2 of the Act on the organization and procedure of proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal, the resolution states that the term of office of the president of the Constitutional Tribunal lasts six years, so “even if we take into account the actual event of a defective appointment”, Julia Przyłębska’s term of office as president of the Constitutional Tribunal expired on December 21, 2022.

“Consequently, all procedural decisions regarding the management of the work of the Constitutional Tribunal, and in particular the appointment of adjudicating panels, made by Julia Przyłębska may be questioned,” reads the text of the resolution.

Julia PrzyłębskaWojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

A state “requiring the re-creation of the constitutional court”

The resolution recalls that in letters from June and December 2018, seven judges of the Constitutional Tribunal “indicated that in the practice of the Constitutional Tribunal there was manipulation of the panels of jurisprudence”, and “due to the situation in the Constitutional Tribunal, on February 15, 2023, the European Commission initiated anti-violation proceedings in relation to Poland. “In the opinion of the European Commission, the Constitutional Tribunal does not meet the criteria of an independent court within the meaning of Article 19 of the Treaty on European Union,” it added.

According to the document, the Sejm states that “violations of the Constitution and law in the activities of the Constitutional Tribunal have reached a scale that prevents this body from performing systemic tasks in the field of controlling the constitutionality of law, including the protection of human and citizen rights.”

“In the opinion of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland the state of inability of the currently functioning body to perform the tasks of the Constitutional Tribunal referred to in Art. 188 and 189 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, requires the re-creation of a constitutional court, in accordance with constitutional principles and taking into account the voice of all political forces that respect the constitutional order.

According to the resolution, the judges of the “renewed” Constitutional Tribunal should be elected “with the participation of the votes of opposition groups”, and “the appointment of the composition of the Constitutional Tribunal should be arranged in such a way as to confirm the will to create this body without the perspective of the current term of office of the Sejm and Senate”.

“The Sejm is of the opinion that taking into account in the activities of a public authority the decisions of the Constitutional Tribunal issued in violation of the law may be considered a violation of the principle of legalism by these bodies,” we read.

At the end of the resolution, the Sejm “appeals to the judges of the Constitutional Tribunal to resign and thus to join the process of democratic changes.”

In the justification to the draft resolution we read that “the constitutional crisis related to the dispute over the composition of judges in the Constitutional Tribunal has caused serious political tensions as well as social unrest and demonstrations in defense of the independence and apolitical nature of the Constitutional Tribunal.”

Double judges in the Constitutional Tribunal

On October 8, 2015, the Sejm of the 7th term elected – primarily with the votes of the then PO-PSL coalition – five new judges: Roman Hauser, Krzysztof Ślebzak, Andrzej Jakubecki, who were to be the successors of the three judges ending their terms on November 6, and Bronisław Sitek and Andrzej Sokala – in place of judges whose terms ended in December, i.e. already during the next parliamentary term.

On November 25, 2015, the Sejm of the new, 8th term adopted the resolutions proposed by PiS declaring their lack of legal force. choice judges of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 8.

On December 2, 2015, the Sejm elected Julia Przyłębska, Piotr Pszczółkowski, Henryk Cioch, Lech Morawski and Mariusz Muszyński, nominated by PiS, as judges of the Constitutional Tribunal. The last three were successors of judges whose terms expired in November. These judges were sworn in by President Andrzej Duda.

December 3, 2015 Constitutional Court – during the presidency of Andrzej Rzepliński – ruled that the provision on the basis of which three judges were elected in the 7th term of the Sejm (Roman Hauser, Krzysztof Ślebzak, Andrzej Jakubecki) was consistent with the constitution, i.e. the people subsequently elected to their places should not sit in the Tribunal.

READ ALSO ON KONKRET24:

However, on December 9, 2015, the Constitutional Tribunal, in its composition supplemented by PiS, declared the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act of November 19, 2015 unconstitutional. According to both of these Constitutional Tribunal judgments – both from December 3 and 9 – the three judges elected by the Sejm of the 7th term were appointed in accordance with the law. However, they never made it to the Tribunal.

Representatives of the then authorities argued that the Sejm had already elected judges to fill the vacant positions on December 2, 2015, so the Constitutional Tribunal was complete. The president swore in Henryk Cioch, Lech Morawski and Mariusz Muszyński to replace the Constitutional Tribunal judges duly elected by the Sejm of the 7th term. Cioch and Morawski died in 2017, and the Sejm then elected Jarosław Wyrembak and Justyn Piskorski in their places. These three judges (Muszyński, Wyrembak, Piskorski) are called understudies because they took the places of judges Hauser, Ślebzak and Jakubecki.

Dispute regarding the term of office of Julia Przyłębska

At the end of 2022, some lawyers, including former judges of the Constitutional Tribunal, indicated that the term of office of the current president, Julia Przyłębska, expires on December 20, after 6 years, and at the same time she will not be able to apply for this function again. At that time, six judges of the Constitutional Tribunal sent a letter to Julia Przyłębska and President Andrzej Duda, in which they demanded that Judge Przyłębska convene the General Assembly of judges of the Constitutional Tribunal and select candidates from among whom the president would appoint a new president. The letter also indicated that, pursuant to the Act on the organization and procedure of proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal, Przyłębska’s term as president had already ended.

In response, Przyłębska stated that the letter of the six judges “has no basis in law and is devoid of purpose.” In her opinion, her position as president expires at the end of her term as a judge of the Constitutional Tribunal, i.e. in December 2024.

Plans for changes in the Constitutional Tribunal

In recent days, many representatives of the current government camp have been talking not only about plans related to the resolution regarding the Constitutional Tribunal, but also about broader changes in this body.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz he said on Sunday that the procedure in parliament to change the chapter of the constitution in the area of ​​the Constitutional Tribunal will begin next week.

– Here we are already certain – these projects regarding the resolution on the Constitutional Tribunal; the act on the National Council of the Judiciary has already been submitted; an act on the Constitutional Tribunal and changes to the constitution are still needed – of course, the procedure takes longer here, but this procedure will also be started in parliament this week – said the head of the Ministry of National Defense. – The procedure for changing the chapter of the constitution in the area of ​​the Constitutional Tribunal will begin – assured the leader of the People’s Party.

On Saturday, the head of the PSL-TD club, Krzysztof Paszyk, announced on Radio Trójka that on Monday or Tuesday a “comprehensive package of solutions” regarding changes in the Constitutional Tribunal will be presented in parliament: a parliamentary resolution pointing out the defects of the Constitutional Tribunal’s operation, “horizontal” laws regulating the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal in the future and a draft amendment to the constitution. He expressed hope that the resolution “opening a number of actions” would be processed in the Sejm on Wednesday. Last Thursday, Deputy Minister of Justice Krzysztof Śmiszek said on Radio Wrocław that he hoped that next week, at the next session of the Sejm, the “three-pack” regarding the Constitutional Tribunal would be presented – drafts of a resolution, an act and changes to the constitution. As he revealed then, the resolution regarding the Constitutional Tribunal named “all the irregularities” that took place in the Constitutional Tribunal

Main photo source: Longfin Media/Shutterstock.com



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