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Poland’s Populist Government Also Wants to Stack its Supreme Court

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Poland Judiciary

Crowds protesting the forced retirement of the Supreme Court head, Małgorzata Gersdorf, and of some of its judges as part of a judicial overhaul implemented by Poland’s right-wing ruling party, that has put it at odds with the European Union, before the Supreme Court building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

Last week, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Warsaw to support the country’s highest court. The populist Law and Justice party hoped to drive some members of the court into retirement by passing a law to lower the required retirement age from 70 to 65. The Chief Justice, 65-year old Małgorzata Gersdorf, argues that the law targets her, and that she has the right to stay on the court for the duration of her constitutionally-mandated 6-year term. One of the functions of the court is to certify Poland’s elections, so the replacement nominees could give ‘Law and Order’ an electoral edge. To discuss, we’re joined by John J. Kulczycki, professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he taught Polish history.  He’s the author of Belonging to the Nation: Inclusion and Exclusion in the Polish-German Borderlands, 1939–1951.

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