The Assault on Poland's Judiciary

The Danger Is Not Gone, and the EU Must Step Up

A protest against judicial reforms in Wroclaw, Poland, July 2017.  Agencja Gazeta / Mieczyslaw Michalak via REUTERS

Poland’s democracy is in peril. Since coming to power in 2015, the Law and Justice party (PiS) has subverted the country’s democratic constitutional order and sought to replace it with a form of competitive authoritarianism. The party began its assault on liberal democracy by neutering and seizing control of the Constitutional Tribunal, Poland’s highest court, last year. This month, PiS lawmakers sought to complete their takeover of the judiciary with three controversial pieces of legislation. One measure would have let the minister of justice oust the Supreme Court’s current members and replace them with party loyalists. The second would have given parliament control over the National Council of the Judiciary, the previously independent body that appoints and promotes Poland’s judges. A third proposes to give the minister of justice the power to dismiss and appoint the heads of Poland’s lower courts.

Facing pressure from tens

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