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February 1, 2023

President holds informal meeting with Constitutional Court judges

Topics on the agenda: fuzzy aspects of pieces of legislation and the Parliament’s tendency to forward all decisions to the Constitutional Court.

President Traian Basescu paid yesterday an unofficial visit to the Constitutional Court at the invitation of the Court’s officials. The meeting was held behind closed doors and was not publicly announced by either the Presidential Administration or the Court. This is the third time since his validation as head of state in the present mandate that Traian Basescu visited the Constitutional Court (CC).

On leaving, the head of state argued he had discussed with the CC judges the need to enhance the quality of pieces of legislation, be they emergency ordinances or laws. “We’ve discussed constitutionality-related matters. We’ve discussed the need to enhance the quality of laws to prevent confusion in their application in courts,” Basescu stated, quoted by Mediafax, adding no particular law had been addressed, but rather constitutional checks in general. The president further stated that the Court judges had insisted on fuzzy aspects in the pieces of legislation as a whole, including both the Government’s ordinances and emergency ordinances and laws which, once amended in Parliament, “give way to confusions or contradictions with existing legislation”.

“The Parliament forwards all decisions to be subject to a constitutionality check, but the Court is concerned only with pieces of legislation, not with decisions regarding the way they distribute power within the institution,” he added. Traian Basescu also stated he had been invited by the CC president and had gladly accepted the invitation to a talk meant as an inter-institutional meeting. The president’s talk with the CC judges lasted over two hours.

The head of state was first present at CC on December 8, 2010. On that occasion, the president attended the special session marking the Romanian Constitution Day, organized by the Constitutional Court. That meeting had not been publicly announced either, but the Presidency announced subsequently in a release that “the topic of ensuring a permanent inter-institutional dialogue was addressed.” Traian Basescu attended CC’s special December session at the end of a year during which the Court had pronounced a series of decisions on pieces of legislation meant to enforce the Government’s anti-crisis measures. CC’s rejecting such measures, such as the pension cuts, as unconstitutional led the head of state to criticize the Court on several occasions. Indeed, in November 2010, the president criticized CC’s decisions concerning the magistrates’ pensions and teachers’ wages.

President Basescu also visited the Constitutional Court in May 2011 when he attended the opening of the European Consti­tutional Courts’ Congress Con­ference proceedings. On that occasion, he argued that the constitutional courts’ decisions should aim at a perfect balance between individual rights and the general interest.

A month later, the president thanked the Constitutional Court for its cooperation and deep understanding towards his proposals for revising the Constitution, although some of these proposals, such as eliminating the legal presumption as regards the acquirement of wealth from the fundamental law, had been rejected by CC.

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