The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has rejected on Wednesday the constitutional challenge filed by National Liberal Party (PNL) Senators, which concerns the way Lower Chamber lawmaker Marian Enache was nominated CCR judge by the Senate. This is the first time the Court is handling a case that concerns a future Court member.
On Wednesday, June 21, PNL’s Senate group challenged at the Constitutional Court the way Lower Chamber lawmaker Marian Enache (ex-UNPR, ex-PSD) was nominated judge at the CCR, arguing that he lacked the support of any parliamentary group and this would mean that any Romanian could nominate himself.
“In what concerns the Lower Chamber and the Senate nominating Constitutional Court members, the legislator saw fit that a filter is required, namely parliamentary groups in the Senate and Lower Chamber supporting one or several candidacies,” the PNL Senators write in their challenge. “Through historical-teleological interpretation, we consider that the ordinary legislator (…) had in mind that MPs should respect, in the sense of not violating, the rights of the Chamber they are members of,” the Liberals explain.
PNL Senators state that Marian Enache’s nomination breaks Article 5, Paragraph 5 of law no.47/1992 on the organisation of the Constitutional Court, but also Article 16 of the Romanian Constitution. The Liberals claim that although the Senate’s Judiciary Commission initially rejected hearing Enache precisely because he lacked the support of any parliamentary group, he was later heard and proposed for the plenum’s vote.
The authors of the challenge also say that Marian Enache did not receive backing from any parliamentary group not even before the Senate plenum’s vote. “Moreover, the ballots handed out to each Senator present had a horizontal line where the name of the group that nominated him should have been, another proof that no group had asked for his nomination as Constitutional Court judge,” the PNL Senators argue.
“In such a situation, if we were to embrace this manner of nominating a Constitutional Court judge, then any Romanian citizen can propose himself, being put up for vote within the Senate’s or Lower Chamber’s plenum,” they conclude.
“Consequently, the lack of a written request forwarded by a parliamentary group, by Senators and Lower Chamber MPs, the refusal of any group, both within the Judiciary Commission and the plenum, to back him, in line with Article 5, Paragraph 5 of Law no.47/1992, the candidacy of Mr. Enache Marian unequivocally shows that Mr. Enache Marian has been nominated Constitutional Court judge in violation of constitutional provisions listed in Article 16, Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, and of the legal provisions imposed by Article 5, Paragraph 5 of Law no.47/1992,” the conclusion of the constitutional challenge filed by PNL Senators reads.
Independent MP Marian Enache filed within the Senate his candidacy for a seat at the CCR, being validated with the votes of the majority centred on PSD.
CCR will renew its membership starting on July 13, with a judge nominated by the Lower Chamber (Attila Varga), one nominated by the Senate (Marian Enache) and one nominated by the Presidency (Livia Stanciu) set to join the CCR panel of judges. Also starting on July 13, the CCR will elect its president. Valer Dorneanu is currently acting CCR President after Augustin Zegrean’s tenure expired.