Brutal Brawl over the Supreme Court

Poland's Authoritarian Train into the Uknown

12 May 2020

The Supreme Court of Poland is supposed to definitely settle legal disputes, set up lines of judgement and decide on the validity of elections. Its role is to rule, define justice and not to fight a duel between authorities. Małgorzata Gersdorf’s term at the Supreme Court was an important safety break for the rule of law in Poland.

A wave of citizens’ protests in front of the Supreme Court building has become the Polish specialité de la maison. The unique scale of the protests, not only within Europe but also for the rest of the world, gave reason to lawyers and citizens to feel proud.

“This is our court”, the inscription displayed on the building brought relief. Thousands of burning candles, a moment of silence and darkness falling over Warsaw.

This is how the Supreme Court looked like in the summer of 2017. The postcard sent to the world was still carrying an optimistic message. Now, it is spring and three years have passed. If you light a candle today, it is to the independence of the courts and the former role of the Supreme Court.

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Jarosław Gwizdak

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Former judge and Court President in Katowice. He currently works as a teacher, columnist and activist. He was the first person awarded the „Civic Judge of the Year” prize.

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