Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Paragraph 174 of the South African Constitution allows the President "as head of the national executive, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly" to appoint the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice of the South African Constitutional Court.
President Zuma's just announced choice, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, (pictured right) has been greeted with disbelief by many South African constitutional scholars and court-watchers. Mogoeng is a justice of the Con Court, but one of its most junior members and one of its most conservatives ones.
Our South African colleague Pierre deVos of Constitutionally Speaking has an excellent reaction piece clarifying that Zuma's opinion may be unwise but is constitutionally permissible, although it might be that the more progressive members of the parties in the legislature will take their consultative responsibilities very seriously.