Polish leader appoints top court judges, against ruling
WARSAW — Poland’s president swore in 27 new Supreme Court judges Wednesday, stepping up the conflict over control of the judiciary and ignoring another top court that said the appointments should be suspended pending an opinion by European Union judges.
Andrzej Duda appointed justices to the civil and penal chambers of the court as well as to its new chamber of extraordinary control, according to his top aide, Pawel Mucha.
‘‘We are implementing another stage of the reform of the justice system that is so important to us,’’ Mucha said.
The new judges are part of sweeping changes the government has made to the judicial system since the conservative Law and Justice party won power in 2015. Many Supreme Court judges were forced to step down when a new law lowered the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 65.
The party argues that judges who were active during the communist era that ended in 1989 must be replaced for Poland’s courts to be fair and efficient.
But critics say the changes are unconstitutional and put Poland’s courts under Law and Justice’s political control.