Commentary Constitutional Court

The path for Gerloch to become Constitutional Court judge has opened

A path for vice-rector of Charles University Aleš Gerloch to become a judge of the Czech Constitutional Court has just opened up.

The Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which is the most important body on the matter, recommended Gerloch for the position. On the other hand, the Education Committee led by an unsuccessful presidential candidate Jiří Drahoš surprisingly denounced the candidate. It was apparently nothing but a political gesture stating opposition to President Zeman.

The topic of the meeting was not Gerloch's pre-1989 past, which has recently been widely discussed in the Czech Republic, because Gerloch used to be a member of the Communist Party and some suspect him of working with State Security (StB), which Gerloch strictly denies. Nor did the professor face too many objections for his earlier expert opinions for President Zeman support of the President´s positions in the dispute over the appointment of ministers and the extradition of Russian hacker Nikulin to the US. No Committee member would question Gerloch´s professional erudition, rather the opposite.

Although the Education Committee meeting was kind, the Senators, who at least asked a question, mostly showed that they had not prepared much or at least did not listen to what was already said. The following Legal and Constitutional Committee meeting was more sophisticated, but even its members did not ask Gerloch anything new or fundamental.

It was no surprise then that Gerloch said, for example, that if it is not clear that the legislation has failed, it is not appropriate to change it. He also objected to the alleged disinformation about his expert opinions for the President's Office and stated that the judiciary could only function if it is independent and impartial.

In both meetings, Gerloch showed himself as an academic and proved many times that the devil is in the detail. Nobody questioned his expertise. Some Senators did not even care about it as much as they will not be interested next week when the decision of whether Gerloch will become a constitutional judge or not. Their decision will again be just a political gesture towards President Zeman.

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