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Some Justices Argued for Publishing Minority Opinions until the Last Minute

Some Justices Argued for Publishing Minority Opinions until the Last Minute

Posted May. 14, 2004 22:31,   


The final ruling on the impeachment vote of President Roh Moo-hyun came after long deliberation from the nine justices of the Constitutional Court, including Court President Yoon Young-chul.

“It feels like coming out of a long, dark tunnel,” said presiding justice Choo Sun-hoe on May 14. At meetings held since the final hearing on April 30, the presiding justice, who worked as a mediator, reportedly had a hard time fine-tuning the verdict because the justices showed big differences on some specific issues.

As the announcement date approached, Choo was able to go to bed only after taking sleeping pills and told his acquaintances, “It’s really tough.”

Whether minority opinions should be included in the verdict was discussed until the last minute. Some justices cited Article 36, clause 3 of the Constitutional Court Act, which mandates justices to publish opinions on the verdicts of laws conflicting with Constitution, rights disputes, and constitutional petition. They said, “According to the clause, publishing opinions on the impeachment is left at the discretion of justices,” arguing that it is legal to release minority opinions.

The justices had heated discussions on the most controversial issue of whether President Roh’s violation of election laws was serious enough to impeach him. In the process, some justices were said to have a tough time making decisions until the very last minute.

Sang-Rok Lee myzodan@donga.com