Judicial Coup, Redux: The Case for Impeaching Thailand’s Constitutional Court
On June 1, 2012, Thailand’s Constitutional Court took the extraordinary step of issuing an injunction, quickly shown to have violated the law and exceeded the bounds of the Court’s constitutional authority,1 ordering the National Assembly to cease all deliberations on a proposed amendment to the 2007 Constitution, pending a review of the amendment’s constitutionality. The injunction was issued on the same day when a few hundred activists from the so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), in cooperation with members of the opposition Democrat Party, blockaded all roads to Thailand’s parliament, preventing the House of Representatives from meeting to debate a controversial “Reconciliation Act.” The previous two meetings of the House had been disrupted by the PAD’s threat to storm the halls of the National Assembly, and by the intemperate outbursts of Democrat Party members of parliament, some of whom physically assaulted the House Speaker and other parliamentarians. Once again, the PAD, the Democrat Party, and the Constitutional Court have teamed up to delegitimize the democratic process, prevent the representatives of the Thai people from fulfilling their legislative functions under the Constitution, and lay the groundwork for the removal of a duly elected and legally constituted government, whether by military force (as in 2006) or by judicial intervention (as in 2008).
Given the frequency with which the Constitutional Court has infringed upon the Thai people’s right to elect their own governments, and the scandalous nature of its two most recent rulings, this report makes the case for the removal of each of the Court’s justices, under the impeachment powers that the Constitution reserves for Thailand’s Senate. Aside from the immediate necessity of preventing another “judicial coup,” the restoration of the rule of law simply cannot take place so long as the country’s highest court is composed of judges who make so little pretense of independence and impartiality, and act with such blatant disregard for the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.
The document below, released today by Amsterdam & Partners, outlines the history and the rationale for the impeachment of Thailand’s Constitutional Court.