Did you know that during the first Czechoslovak Republic, the Constitutional Court was located in Prague, and not in Brno?
And the first chairman of the Ús was named Baxa, exactly like the one today – coincidence?
In addition, even though Czechoslovakia of the First Republic was (much) larger than the Czech Republic, apart from Slovakia it also included the so-called Subcarpathian Rus, so we had to make do with seven constitutional judges at the time, today there are fifteen of them.
Let’s add that during the period when Subcarpathian Rus was part of Czechoslovakia, significant progress was made in Subcarpathian Rus, especially in the field of education and healthcare. Many witnesses recall that their Subcarpathian parents and grandparents remembered that time (meaning under Masaryk’s Czechoslovakia) as a “golden era” when Subcarpathian Rus reached its peak in terms of living standards.
Back to Constitutional Judges – Ergo hammer, aren’t there too many of them today?
Let’s add that the total annual gross income without non-financial bonuses for the constitutional judge is around 3 million crowns today, plus he is also entitled to a car and an apartment.
In addition, the amount does not include the sums paid by the employer – the state on health and social insurance contributions from the employer – approx. another 34 percent. For the chairman and vice-chairmen, the total salary requirements are even slightly higher.
Therefore, reducing the number of judges of the Constitutional Court would certainly bring significant savings for the state budget.
If it is necessary to save on the elderly, why not save on judges, many citizens – taxpayers ask.
During the First Republic, the term of a judge was ten years, it is the same as now. Of course, the question is whether it should be shorter in today’s fast-paced times, it is also possible to meet proposals that, for example, the last two years constitutional judges should have half their salary.
Because it can reasonably be assumed that they could prepare for their relatively worsened situation during the first eight years of their mandate, just as senior men and women could allegedly prepare for their situation.
Today, I also consider the fact that Czech constitutional judges can repeat their mandate to be problematic. As if ten years were not enough.
A double or even triple term of office can therefore last up to thirty years.
From the point of view of society as a whole, I do not consider it appropriate for someone to become a constitutional judge almost for life, in my opinion, a person with a weaker connection to ordinary life. Someone who fits the parable of the ivory tower.
I see the most significant reason for limiting the number of terms of office in strengthening the independence and impartiality of judges.
Opinions that the decisions of the Constitutional Court in “more political cases” need not be independent do not only come from the mouths of politicians or journalists. Paradoxically, even the former president of the court, Pavel Rychetský, has hinted in the media in the past that some judges may be motivated by trying to please politicians. And that the repetition of the judge’s mandate is not appropriate.
Even with the recent decision of the Constitutional Court regarding the reduction of pension valuations, such attacks occurred. In particular, opposition politicians wrote that the judges may have tried to please the president and the government.
Personally, I don’t see it so strongly, however, if the possibility of repeating the mandate did not exist, these defamatory remarks would also logically disappear.
If independence is a functional prerequisite of justice, then limiting the possibility of repeating the performance of the function must be considered a functional prerequisite of high-quality constitutional justice.
This change would have to take place, as before in Slovakia, in the form of a constitutional amendment.
Let’s add that the possibility of repeating the mandate is rather exceptional in the democratic world.
As part of fair play, it should also be banned in the Czech Republic without unnecessary delay.
they should be able to repeat their mandate
they should not be able to repeat their mandate
the constitutional court should be abolished
A total of 4 readers voted.
Sources (primary and secondary):
Růžička, V., Klíma K., : Constitutions and their value frameworks at the crossroads of history or towards constitutions always with humility, Leges, Prague, 2023
Chmel, J.: What influences the Constitutional Court and its judges? Leges, Prague, 2021