For over three decades, the position of the Constitutional Tribunal seemed to be solidly grounded in the Polish institutional landscape and the pluralistic public discourse. However, with the recent demolition of the Tribunal, we are faced with an end of an era.
In January 1982, after the martial law was introduced, Professors of the Warsaw University Tomasz Dybowski, refused to shake hands with Professor Sylwester Zawadzki – the then Minister of Justice – addressing him in the following manner: “for me, you are no longer a professor”. Now, it is high time to bring such gestrures back.
President Andrzej Duda has just signed the act passed recently by both the Polish parliament (o, hail, the parliamentary majority of Law and Justice!) and the Senate (yay! another session held at 3am!) that is to alter the way in which Constitutional Tribunal operates. So now instead of 5 independent judges we’ll have 15 (thus 13 will be necessary to make a binding decision) judges of somewhat dubious background while all claims will be scrutinized according to the chronological order in which they have been filed. Sounds sound, but is it really?