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Poland’s Top Court Defies Government in Dragging Conflict

Poland’s Supreme Court judges defied the new conservative government by instructing justices across the country on Tuesday to abide by the rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal — even if it means going against the government.

The General Assembly of the Supreme Court Judges adopted the resolution, saying the move would ensure uniformity of the ruling by all of Poland’s courts.

The government and the Constitutional Tribunal are locked in conflict over new legislation that has been pushed by the government which wants to have influence over the court. The tribunal has declared the legislation unconstitutional, but the government insists on having it, raising fears of a dual law system.

The tribunal has the power to block new legislation, something that Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s government wants to prevent as it introduces sweeping changes to Poland’s legislation and state-owned businesses.

Actions by the ruling Law and Justice party, which controls the government, the presidency and the parliament, have also drawn criticism from some European Union leaders who say that Poland’s democracy and the rule of law are threatened.

The Supreme Court resolution instructs Poland’s judges to follow the tribunal’s rulings, even if the government doesn’t endorse them and refuses to publish them, a step necessary to make them binding.

The resolution suggests that an end to the conflict is nowhere near in sight, with both sides sticking to their positions.

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