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Leadership vacuum looms at S. Korea’s 2 top courts
Chief justice seat in Supreme Court left vacant for 47th day; Constitutional Court president retires from postBy Park Jun-hee
Published : Nov. 10, 2023 - 15:29
South Korea’s two top courts are facing a leadership vacuum following Constitutional Court President Yoo Nam-seok’s retirement on Friday, while the position of chief justice has remained vacant for 47 days.
President Yoon Suk Yeol named Lee Jong-seok as the nominee for the president of the Constitutional Court of South Korea last month and a parliamentary confirmation hearing for Lee is set to take place on Monday. Lee is currently one of nine justices in the Constitutional Court.
Since 2006, the fulfillment of the position for the chief of the highest court has consistently seen a delay. Yoo’s predecessor Lee Jin-sung took up the title in 2018, 296 days after the seat had been vacant.
The Supreme Court’s head has also been vacant since September after the opposition-controlled National Assembly rejected Supreme Court chief justice nominee Lee Gyun-song in early October, marking the first such instance in 35 years. The rejection cited his alleged personal relationship with Yoon and past rulings that included sentence reductions for sexual offenders.
Ahn Chul-sang, the most senior of the 13 Supreme Court justices, has since acted as chief justice since the former top court chief Kim Meong-su’s six-year tenure ended Sept. 24.
Amid a month-long vacancy, Yoon on Wednesday named Cho Hee-dae, a former Supreme Court justice, as the new chief of the highest court. Cho’s appointment will be subject to parliamentary approval after a confirmation hearing.
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