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大法官的任命審查:美國經驗(二)

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前兩天(9/1)剛剛寫了一篇短文,從美國參議院行使法官同意權的經驗,來談談立法院如何審查大法官。昨天又看到美國一個重要的相關消息:George W. Bush總統提名的聯邦法官(非最高法院之大法官)候選人Miguel Estrada在民主黨參議員全力擋駕兩年後,宣布放棄這個職位。而白宮也正式宣告撤回此一人選。下面這篇紐約時報評論就是有關這個事件,可供參考。

Estrada是Bush提名西班牙裔(Hispanics)人士的一個重要指標,證明他是種族多元的支持者。但這個哈佛畢業,曾在司法部任職過的少數族裔(目前,西班牙裔已與黑人同樣成為美國最大比例的少數族群)之所以讓民主黨這樣拼命杯葛—在民主黨還是參議院多數黨時固不待言,聽證結果是「拒絕同意」;就是民主黨成了少數,布希再一次提名,民主黨也運用議事杯葛讓他的審查案排不進議程—,原因有二:

第一是由於Estrada的極度保守意識型態,人們擔心他成為另一個Clarence Thomas(老布希任命的聯邦最高法院大法官,是美國有史以來第二位黑人大法官。但是他對民權議題幾乎都採極為保守的態度,與第一位黑人大法官Thurgood Marshall完全相反),為了不讓布希父子的「種族牌」(提名個極端保守的少數族裔當花瓶甚至鷹爪)得逞,自然要擋駕。

第二則是布希政府自己搞出來的。參議院司法委員會要求司法部交出Estrada在任職司法部期間所撰寫的法律意見書稿件,作為審查依據,但布希政府以這些資料為行政內部資料為由,拒絕交出。結果呢,Estrada既非學者又非法官,參議院無從自他的「學術論著」與「法院判決」中分析他的司法哲學。而Estrada自己在當初聽證之際,就不願意配合參議員所質詢的問題。即使連禮貌性說明自己的見解也拒絕。這要參議員如何放你過關?有位參議員就說:「哪有美國人會在應徵工作之面試中拒絕回答問題,卻還認為自己能夠被錄取?」就連原本無奈地支持Estrada的西裔學者Kevin Johnson,也在布希與Estrada拒絕提供資料回答問題後,認為這是他們活該!

無論從「專業」或「民主」來看,大法官的提名與任命,確實都應該做得更公開透明:讓被提名人的價值觀與法律見解,無所逃於天地之間。這樣至少可以讓公眾(現在與將來)檢驗這些被提名人是否有深度,是否態度與見解一致,是否有能力回答專業憲法問題。現在這種匆促提名(與美國相較)然後期待立法院趕緊草草通過的模式,將來是絕不可行了。此外,立法委員也必須具有專業審查的資訊與能力,把什麼都搞成「至少要刷掉幾個」或「挺扁挺連」,只有拉著司法權一起死在台灣爛泥而反智的政治論述中!(從此看出,立法院職權行使法規定不經討論而由「全院委員會審查」,是一個錯誤的程序—「全院」的大混戰能做什麼有深度的審查?還有,立法院或其委員會的調查或調閱權,以及質詢權,是不是有必要在某些情況擴及行政機關以外的社會人士?這樣才能查出必要的資訊啊!)

還有,我認為大法官的審查過程應該比照行政程序法有關資訊公開與「程序外接觸」的規範:那些找人來「私下」施壓的、遊說的、拜託的、關說的......至少應該公開紀錄讓公眾(而不只是「當事人之間」)知道,是誰在做這種事情--至於這些行為該做什麼評價,就讓公眾輿論去決定!




> Miguel Estrada Bows Out
>
> September 5, 2003
>
>
>
>
>
> The Bush administration's announcement that it is giving up
> on Miguel Estrada, whose appeals court nomination has been
> repeatedly blocked by a Senate filibuster, is welcome news.
> The White House's drive to have Mr. Estrada confirmed while
> keeping key parts of his record secret showed contempt for
> the Senate's role, and for the American public's right to
> know. The Senate has made clear its resolve to prevent the
> White House from packing the federal courts with unworthy
> judges. President Bush should start nominating judges who
> can command support on both sides of the aisle.
>
> Mr. Estrada is a talented Harvard Law School graduate with
> a distinguished legal career. But he is reported to hold
> views that place him far outside the legal mainstream. At
> his confirmation hearing for a seat on the powerful United
> States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
> Circuit, he repeatedly refused to answer senators'
> questions. Incredibly, he claimed to have no opinion on
> whether Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, was
> correctly decided.
>
> As a lawyer in the solicitor general's office, Mr. Estrada
> wrote memos that might well shed light on his views. But
> the White House refused senators' requests to see them. It
> claimed that the disclosure would be unprecedented, even
> though when Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court
> in 1987, the Senate examined memos he had written as
> solicitor general.
>
> The Constitution says judges are to be appointed with the
> Senate's "advice and consent." But the Bush administration
> has played a cat-and-mouse game, trying to rush nominees
> through and demonizing senators who ask legitimate
> questions. This is an abuse of the system the founders
> established. As Senator Charles Schumer has noted, no
> American expects to be hired for a job after refusing to
> answer questions at the interview.
>
> The Constitution requires not only the Senate's consent but
> also its advice, and it is on this score that the Bush
> administration has been most recalcitrant. The White House
> has resisted Senate Democrats' requests to be brought into
> the process earlier. If the administration insists on
> having conservative ideologues choose its judicial nominees
> in secret, it should not be surprised when Mr. Estrada, and
> others like him, fail to be confirmed.
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/05/opinion/05FRI2.html?ex=1063745164&ei=1&en=d014c141122ccfed
>
>

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