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Moon taps progressive judge to head Constitutional Court

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Published : 2017-05-19 15:30
Updated : 2017-05-19 17:45

President Moon Jae-in on Friday picked Kim Yi-su for the post of president of the Constitutional Court. Kim is currently serving as the acting chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

“I have decided to name Kim Yi-su to the position which has been void for four months now because of ongoing concerns over the prolonged absence,” said Moon.

“Kim has been lending his ears to different people in society and he is apt for the position with his experience as a constitutional court member.”

Kim Yi-su, the new chief justice of the highest court (Yonhap)

The 64-year-old judge passed the national bar exam in 1977 after graduating the prestigious Seoul National University law school. In 2012, he was nominated to serve in the constitutional court along with Lee Jung-mi, the former acting chief justice of the Constitutional Court, who delivered the ruling of President Park’s impeachment.

He replaced former acting chief justice Park Han-chul after he retired in January.

The progressive judge was the only judge nominated by the then-main opposing party the Democratic United Party, while other members of the court were handpicked by the president, the Supreme Court Justice, and the floor of the ruling party.

Kim is known to display humanitarian and progressive tendencies in his rulings, which distinguishes him from the rest of the Constitutional Court.  

Kim was also the only one of the nine-member constitutional judges to oppose the disbandment of the Unified Progressive Party in 2014. The defunct party led by former leftist lawmaker Lee Jung-hee was accused of pro-North tendencies and conspiring against the government. 

According to the new administration, the tenure of the new chief justice is expected to be in line with the tenure of the selected nominee. Kim is expected to hold office until Sept. 14, 2018.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)