President Lee Myung-bak’s appointment of Lee Dong-heub, a former Constitutional Court justice, to head the top judicial body, is facing stiff opposition from the main opposition Democratic United Party for his past rulings and alleged ideological bias.
“Appointing Lee Dong-heub, who exhibits far-right conservatism, as head of the Constitutional Court is inappropriate,” Yoon Gwan-seok, a DUP spokesperson, told reporters in a briefing at the National Assembly on Friday.
Yoon accused Lee of exhibiting a pro-Japanese stance in his past rulings. In March 2011, Lee had ruled that parts of the law restituting assets accumulated by pro-Japanese Koreans during the colonial period violated the constitution.
The former justice had also opposed compelling the government to take active steps in asking for restitution on behalf of Korean women who were sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. In addition, Lee had also ruled that it was constitutional for the police to cordon off Seoul Plaza to prevent protests.
Because the appointment was made after President Lee met with President-elect Park Geun-hye, DUP lawmakers also criticized Park.
“Considering how this is realistically a personnel appointment of President-elect Park, isn’t this (appointment) in complete opposition to the ‘unity’ she has been thinking and stressing?” asked Park Ki-choon, the DUP’s new floor leader, in a radio program.
By Samuel Songhoon Lee (email@example.com