New “commissioner” in the Supreme Court: Aleksander Stępkowski
Stępkowski was one of the founders of the Legal Culture Institute, Ordo Iuris, a conservative association of lawyers, known for its battle against the “gender ideology” and advocating extreme penalties for abortion, including imprisonment for women terminating pregnancy
What follows is a translation of an article published at TVN24.pl website on 15 May 2020.
Judge Aleksander Stępkowski is acting first president of the Supreme Court from Friday 15 May. In the past, he was one of the founders and long-term president of the conservative institute, Ordo Iuris. He also held the post of deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Law and Justice (PiS) government. Stępkowski was appointed to the Supreme Court on the motion of the new NCJ, without waiting for the judgment of the European court.
Kamil Zaradkiewicz, who was acting first president of the Supreme Court after Małgorzata Gersdorf’s term of office ended resigned on Friday 15 May 2020. President Andrzej Duda entrusted the fulfilment of the duties of the president of the Supreme Court to Judge Aleksander Stępkowski.
Doctor habilitatus Aleksander Stępkowski is connected with the University of Warsaw, where he is a professor of the Faculty of Law and Administration.
He was one of the founders of the Legal Culture Institute, Ordo Iuris, which was established in 2013. In 2013–2015 and 2016–2017, he held the post of president of the management board.
Ordo Iuris is a conservative association of lawyers, known for its battle against the “gender ideology” and advocating extreme penalties for abortion, including imprisonment for women terminating pregnancy.
Deputy minister in the PiS government
In November 2015, after the Law and Justice party won the parliamentary elections, Stępkowski became the deputy minister of foreign affairs.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was responsible for legal and treaty issues. When PiS was making changes in the Constitutional Tribunal, it was he who was convincing the Venice Commission that everything is happening in accordance with European standards.
He was recalled from the position in August 2016.
Controversial nomination to the Supreme Court
At the end of August 2018, the new NCJ nominated by politicians, selected 20 candidates for judicial positions in the Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs of the Supreme Court in three rounds of voting. Aleksander Stępkowski then found himself among the candidates presented to the president. He had no previous experience as a judge.
He waited for his appointment until February 2019. The delay arose from the fact that Stępkowski had dual nationality – Polish and British. The rules of the Supreme Court do not allow for this. Therefore, Stępkowski surrendered his British passport.
The president appointed Stępkowski, even though the implementation of resolutions of the new NCJ on this matter had been suspended by the Supreme Administrative Court in connection with the pending decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the legality of the new Council.
Stępkowski then assessed that “he does not very well see any legal grounds for issuing an injunction of this type”.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz