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Yoon announces new nominee for Supreme Court chief justiceBy Lee Jaeeun
Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 16:28
President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday named Cho Hee-dae, a former Supreme Court justice, as the new chief of the highest court, the presidential office has announced.
The nomination comes while the position has remained vacant. The opposition-controlled National Assembly declined Yoon's previous appointment for Supreme Court chief justice, Lee Gyun-ryong, early last month, marking the first such instance in 35 years.
Cho, born in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in 1957, began his judicial career as a judge at the Seoul District Court in 1986 after graduating from the Seoul National University School of Law.
After being promoted to a presiding judge, he held a variety of important positions, including research judge at the Supreme Court and chief of the Daegu District Court.
Cho was previously named a Supreme Court justice during the Park Geun-hye administration, and served in that role from 2014 to 2020. He is now a chair professor at Sungkyunkwan University Law School.
Cho was a famous judge who staked out minority opinions in landmark rulings, such as conscientious objection. Cho was reportedly chosen as the right person for judicial reform, with Yoon eager for a reform drive in the Supreme Court, which he assesses as lacking credibility with the public.
Cho's appointment will be subject to parliamentary approval after a confirmation hearing.
Yet even if the National Assembly approves his appointment, Cho will not be able to serve a full six-year term because the retirement age for chief justice of the Supreme Court is set at 70 years old.
A senior presidential official -- who wished to remain anonymous -- told reporters that Yoon sees Cho as someone "who can obtain permission from opposition parties without setbacks."
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