Poland enacted a law at the start of the year that lowered the mandatory retirement age of all of its judges from 70 to 65. This resulted, among other things, in the required retirement for 27 of the nation’s 72 Supreme Court judges (a too-big Court, anyway IMNSHO, and they ought not be replaced, but that’s a separate story).
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS [Prawo i Sprawiedliwość]) party says the changes are necessary to a justice system they say is controlled by an untouchable “caste” of judges steeped in communist-era mentality.
The European Union has demurred.
The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice said Friday that Poland must delay implementation of a law that came into force earlier this year requiring early retirement for nearly 40% of the court’s judges. Poland could face fines if it doesn’t comply, but more significantly such a move would represent an unprecedented threat to the authority of the bloc’s top court.
The Polish judges sent into retirement must be allowed to return to work, the ruling said.
That supposed threat to the ECJ may, in fact, be the crux of the matter: the EU must reign supreme over the member nations.
Whether retiring the judges is a good idea or not is a good idea or not, it’s an internal, domestic affair for Poland to decide.
Joining the EU plainly requires the surrender of a potful of national sovereignty far beyond such outward looking matters as national borders, trade rules, and the like.