September 20, 2016
…Sometimes it seems as if the European Union is not just a rolling circus, but a rolling circus on fire. Fresh from the Brexit fiasco and still facing an unresolved refugee crisis, the latest wounds to the European body politic are self-inflicted. The European Union is attacking its sixth-largest member state, Poland.
On September 14, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to condemn the Polish government’s controversial changes to the membership and procedures of Poland’s Constitutional Court. The European Parliament vote follows a July European Commission decision ordering the Polish government to reverse its policies.
The legal dispute centers on the current Law and Justice (PiS) government’s withdrawal of the nominations of five judges appointed by the outgoing Civic Platform (PO) government during its final days in office. The Polish impasse resembles the one going on in Washington, where Republican senators refuseto hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Poland’s nationalist PiS party and its leader Jarosław Kaczyński have long been highly controversial among Polish intellectuals. But calls for the suspension of Poland’s EU voting rights and claims of the death of Polish democracy are far out of line…