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The Constitutional Court justices are embroiled in a new dilemma that shows big moral gaps within the court that should worry any legal scholars in Thailand and the greater public about the court’s judgement.
The problem stems from the age of the current President of the Constitutional Court, Worawit Kangsasitiam.
Worawit is about to turn 70 years old this March. According to the 2007, Constitutional Court justices cannot be over 70 years and cannot serve for nine years.
However, according to the 2017 constitution, that 70 year limit can be expanded to 75 years but justices cannot serve for more than seven years on the court.
The dilemma is that while Worawit is about to turn 70 years old, he is also on his eighth year on the court.
That means under the ’07 constitution, he must vacate his seat due to the age restriction or under the ’17 constitution he must vacate his seat due to the term limit.
The Thai Constitutional Court, in all glory and judicial knowhow, proposes mixing and matching the constitutions taking the extended age clause of the 2017 constitution with the term limit of the 2007 constitution to allow Khun Worawit to remain on the court.
Of course, some members of the court have opposed this but the most recent vote shows a 5-4 vote in favor of the mixing and matching.
If it were to happen, Thailand would be the first country in the world that allows its high court justices to cherry pick legal precedence from two separate charters (especially one that has been superseded) to give themselves more power.
This is the same court that saw it fit to disband several parties over technicalities, to remove a prime minister from office because he had a cooking show that paid him a small stipend, that has banned multiple politicians from office for multiple years. This is the same Constitutional Court which said that Thammanat Prompao drug conviction in Australia didn’t prevent him from holding office in Thailand because “it didn’t happen in this country.”
One of the highest court in the land has found a legal loophole, and not even a good one, to keep their president.
Let us remind you once again this is the same Constitutional Court that has jailed people for contempt for criticizing the court and its decisions.
This is the same Constitutional Court that makes life or death decisions politically for parties and who for the better part of two decades have time and time again ruled in favor of the establishment and the army-backed governments.
Maybe now, we can all see the court for what it really is.