Opposition to Justice Lee Dong-Hup is nothing more than the typical nonsense that plaques Korean politics.
Justice Lee has been nominated as the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court and the ultra-liberal and liberal parties are, seemingly, opposed to the nomination, since the justice is from the same home town as the incoming president. I think this fact has nothing to do with it and, simply, these parties will oppose any nominee.
I have come to know Justice Lee very well. I had the opportunity to lead a group of justices at the Constitutional Court in the study of American Constitutional Law and, also, advise justices on pending cases at the Constitutional Court during by tenure at the Court.
I led the group of justices studying Constitutional Law for many years and Justice Lee was the only justice that attended almost every meeting. He was, also, very much interested in obtaining a deep understanding of the differences in countries laws. He is fluent in English and has an excellent grasp of Chinese and Japanese.
He is quite opinionated, but also very willing to listen to opinions of others. I doubt he has ever made up his mind on a case based on a political party that supports or opposes a particular law. Also, to call him an ultra-conservative is far from the truth. A simple look at his voting record shows that he has no particular slant in his votes.
I, often, do not have the same opinion as Justice Lee, but to consider him nothing more than a political crony of the new administration is ridiculous.
Hopefully Korea, like the United States Senate did with Judge Bork, won't embarrass itself and engage in a political assignation of Justice Lee.
Justice Lee is too good of a man and the good people of this country deserve better than this nonsense.
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.
Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the only non-Korean to have worked as an attorney for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.