Legislators voted 72-2 in favor of Hsu and 83-2 to approve incumbent Supreme Court Justice Tsai Chiung-tun as Judicial Yuan vice president. Each required only 57 votes to be confirmed.
All 67 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and five New Power Party (NPP) legislators reportedly voted in favor of Hsu, while Tsai received the same DPP and NPP votes, in addition to 11 from Kuomintang (KMT) and People First Party lawmakers.
Earlier at the Legislative Yuan, KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou wrote “(I) refuse to vote” on his ballot and showed it to the press, claiming that Hsu’s nomination violated the Constitution, which stipulates that a grand justice can serve only one eight-year term and cannot be re-elected.
Because Hsu served as a grand justice from 2003 to 2011, critics say it would be unconstitutional for him to serve as Judicial Yuan president. The Judicial Yuan president simultaneously serves as a grand justice.
The Tsai administration argues that Hsu is not “taking another term” but is “being reappointed.”
Many skeptics still question the move’s legitimacy, with KMT lawmakers demanding that presiding grand justices provide constitutional interpretations of the issue.
Lin said Tuesday that while he was the only one who “put his dissatisfaction into action,” other KMT lawmakers shared his opinion on Hsu’s nomination.
“He can sue me for destroying votes all he likes,” Lin said.
“He’s the one breaching the constitution, and I’m just destroying my ballot.”
The president tapped Hsu and Tsai Chiung-tun for the position after her previous nominees withdrew amid intense protests from civic groups.
Hsu’s Stance on Social Issues
All five grand justice nominees were approved by lawmakers later Tuesday afternoon.
Hsu was tapped by Tsai to serve as the next Judicial Yuan president in September.
However, Hsu expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the president’s weekly policy coordination meetings and said that “further considerations are required (to continue holding the meetings).”
The policy coordination meetings are convened and chaired by the president herself. At the meetings, government executives and DPP party heads gathered to deliberate on national policies.
Critics have expressed concerns that the meetings give too much power to the president and that they violate constitutional principles mandating the separation of legislative and executive powers.
On the legalization of same-sex marriage, Hsu said that “the key is to find out whether being gay is an illness that requires medical treatment or whether it is it a natural phenomenon which was unfortunately misunderstood over the years because gay people consisted of a relatively smaller proportion of the human population.”
“If scientific evidence supports the former statement, I would defend the current law, which maintains that marriage is a commitment between a male and a female; but if science proves the latter to be correct, I would argue that current law violates gender equality and thus must be amended.”