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Polish court again defers verdict on legality of new judges

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's constitutional court on Thursday deferred for the second time its ruling on whether recent appointments of judges under new regulations introduced by the right-wing government are legitimate.

The Constitutional Tribunal debated the matter but then put off its verdict without setting a date for the next session. The postponement comes amid moves in the country to fight the spread of the new virus by shutting down schools and cultural centers and banning mass events.

Poland had its first fatality from the virus Thursday, while 48 other patients are being treated for the COVID-19 illness it causes. Amid widespread criticism of the changes that the ruling Law and Justice party has been making to the judiciary, the government asked the tribunal to decide if the recent appointments were lawful. The tribunal largely recruits from judges backed by the ruling party.

Critics in Poland and European Union bodies say the government politicized the appointments, in violation of judicial independence and of the democratic system of checks and balances.

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