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Court May Get 1st Female Chief Judge

Posted August. 15, 2006 13:32,   


Jeon Hyo-sook (55), an incumbent Constitutional Court judge, is highly likely to be appointed as the president of the Constitutional Court after Yoon Young-cheol’s resignation on September 14. Jeon passed the 17th bar examination in 1975, the same year as President Roh.

Jeong Tae-ho, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman, said, “We will announce an incoming person for the position as early as August 16, after confirmation by President Roh and the Presidential Nomination Committee.”

If the president designates and the National Assembly endorses her, she will be the first female head judge in the Constitutional Court history since 1988.

Given that Jeon is the only judge to dismiss a case with respect to the Administration Capital Act among the nine members of the court, upholding the president’s capital relocation plan in 2004, and known to be one of the favored aides of the government, her nomination is expected to be hotly contested during the hearing in the National Assembly.

She went to Suncheon Girls’ High School and the Law College of Ewha Womans University and served in various posts at the Seoul Domestic Court, the Seoul District Court, the Seoul High Court, and the Constitutional Court in 2003 as its first female judge.

Na Kyeong-won, a Grand National Party spokeswoman, said, “The GNP is seriously concerned about the political influence on the Court.” And Lee Sang-yeol, a spokesman of the Democratic Party, opposed, saying, “The wisdom of age and a balanced view are necessary for the position, and public support is indispensable, too.”

The Korean Bar Association (chairman Cheon Ki-heung) issued a statement in protest, saying, “The court’s decision could lack impartiality.”

jyw11@donga.com jefflee@donga.com