Rule of Law

ABA President Robert Carlson.

ABA President Bob Carlson is urging the Polish government to delay seating 27 new judges to the Supreme Court of Poland to allow for a European Court of Justice ruling on the legality of the law that led to their appointment.

The appointment of the 27 judges on Oct. 10 violated an order of the Supreme Court of Poland that barred the appointment until the EU court rules, according to Carlson’s statement, released on Tuesday. The European Commission had asked the court to rule.

The ABA “is concerned about rushed efforts to implement the Polish law” that lowered the mandatory retirement age for judges from age 70 to 65, Carlson said. The law affected 27 of the supreme court’s 72 judges.

Carlson also said the law “is in direct contravention of the Polish Constitution,” which guarantees a six-year term to the sitting first president of the supreme court. He urged the Polish government “to respect the constitutionally protected term.”

He noted that the ABA had expressed concern before the law’s adoption that it would lead to the politicization of the court. “We believe that irregularities in the proceedings to select new judges for the supreme court will further undermine judicial independence in Poland,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, the new judges are part of “sweeping changes” to the justice system in Poland since the Law and Justice party obtained power in 2015.