Constitutional Court Justice Lee Kong-hyun retired on Friday, completing his six-year term.
His retirement ceremony took place at an auditorium of the court in Jongno-gu, Seoul on Friday.
“Democracy cannot be achieved without constitutional court trials,” the 62-year-old Lee said in his retirement address. “Were it not for the court as it is, there would be no guarantee that we could not return to a gloomy authoritarian past when the constitutional court system remained only in name.”
Referring to criticism that the court lacks democratic legitimacy, he said that majority vote should not have a place in deciding on the common virtues of a society. “Liberty, equality and justice pursued by the constitution cannot be determined by the majority vote or the public opinion,” he said.
Lee graduated from Seoul National University with a law major in 1971, passed the 13th annual judiciary examination in 1971 to become a judge, and took office as a constitutional court justice in March, 2005.