Legal hocus-pocus

30.05.2023 - EB

The vow a Constitutional Court justice must take doesn't apply retroactively. A justice might not have "abide[d] by the laws of the Constitution, and decide[d] according to [his or her] best judgment, independently and impartially" in the past, but this isn't in and of itself an obstacle to appointment. Yet appointment does imply a certain moral authority. Pres. Petr Pavel wrote in his nomination letter to the Senate that he is convinced that Josef Baxa and Daniela Zemanov√° meet all the professional and moral requirements for judges of the Court. In his new book, Baxa acknowledges on Page 109 that it was not systemically correct for him to act in 1998-2002 as both a judge of Pilsen Regional Court and a deputy justice minister. He says on Page 103 that "legal hocus-pocus" was used to make this possible. Senators must decide whether someone who has resorted in the past to legal trickery to circumvent the separation of powers should be a justice of the highest court, or potentially its chief justice.

Glossary of difficult words

hocus-pocus - deception; trickery; meaningless talk or activity, typically designed to trick someone or conceal the truth of a situation;

to abide by - to accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision or recommendation);

impartial - treating all rivals or disputants equally;

in and of itself - by its very nature;

to resort to - to turn to and adopt (a course of action, esp. an extreme or undesirable one) so as to resolve a difficult situation;

trickery - the practice of deception;

to circumvent - to overcome (a problem or difficulty) in a clever and surreptitious way;

separation of powers - the division of a government into branches, each with separate and independent powers and responsibilities.



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