Supreme Court selection: Qualification Commission of Judges will consider disqualification of questionable candidates next week
On February 12 the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ) will start plenary sessions for consideration of candidates to the Supreme Court who were negatively assessed by the Public Integrity Council (PIC).
In general, out of 239 candidates 69 received negative opinions of the PIC. The procedure is as follows: the HQCJ panel considers each candidate, blacklisted by the PIC. If the panel overrules a negative opinion, then a candidate will be considered at the HQCJ plenary, which either also overrules the opinion and green-lights the candidate, or disqualifies him/her.
So far, 50 candidates, who got negative opinions of the PIC, were interviewed by the HQCJ panels, and only 14 of them were disqualified from the competition. This is less than one third.
The rest 36 candidates will be considered at the HQCJ plenary. This number will most likely increase, as the HQCJ still hasn’t interviewed all of the candidates blacklisted.
At least 8 PIC opinions were left without consideration. Although the law foresees no such option, the HQCJ ignores PIC opinions if they are not supported with sufficient and trustworthy evidence (what is sufficient or trustworthy evidence is to be decided by the HQCJ subjectively).
To overrule PIC opinions, the HQCJ needs to support a candidate with 11 out of 16 votes. In the first round of selections for the Supreme Court in 2017 the HQCJ managed to overrule around 60% of PIC opinions.
In the meantime, the HQCJ also refuses to allow PIC members to attend the plenary sessions, despite the fact that the law provides for such participation.