Poles object to former PiS MPs, Pawłowicz and Piotrowicz, being appointed to the captured Constitutional Tribunal [OPINION POLL]


Journalist at OKO.press.


In the Ipsos poll* for OKO.press, Poles were asked whether they think it is appropriate that people who until recently were PiS MPs, active in public life, are the Constitutional Tribunal judges. As many as 65% of the respondents said it was wrong, with as many as 49% saying it was “decidedly wrong”. Just 23% said it was normal practice.

The governing coalition in Poland, which justifies the sweeping changes into courts by the need to depoliticize the justice system, is spectacularly politicizing the Constitutional Tribunal. Krystyna Pawłowicz and Stanisław Piotrowicz were still Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS party, Law and Justice) MPs in September 2019, whereas, they were already judges of the Constitutional Tribunal in November. President Andrzej Duda took the oath of office from Krystyna Pawłowicz and Stanisław Piotrowicz in December 2019. Quietly, without the media being present.


Pawłowicz and Piotrowicz soon started to rule of the constitutionality of the legal provisions, on which they themselves worked when they were MPs. This was the case, for example, with the October 2020 ruling on the restriction of the right to abortion – Krystyna Pawłowicz, as an MP, signed an identical motion to the Constitutional Tribunal in the Sejm’s previous term of office – or the case of the ruling on the fictitious competence dispute between the Supreme Court and the Sejm in 2020.


However, Pawłowicz’s and Piotrowicz’s transfer to the Constitutional Tribunal was controversial not only for its legal but also for its symbolic dimension. It showed that the party is allowed absolutely everything, as both Pawłowicz and Piotrowicz were among PiS’s most controversial parliamentarians.


“Pigsty”, “shut up”, “shut your gobs as the chairman said”, “pig MPs” – Krystyna Pawłowicz happened to shout at opposition Civic Platform MPs during Justice Committee meetings and from the Sejm rostrum. “Whereas the red-headed BEAST is circling (…) frolicking, lying, scheming,” she wrote about Donald Tusk; “Ms. Janda is the voice of the streetwalkers who show women’s reproductive organs at demonstrations”, she commented on the speech of the famous actress. She referred to the EU flag as a “rag”, “I associate it with something bad, not good, dirty”.


Piotrowicz is one of the more “deserving” people in PiS. He was a senator from the party in 2005–2011 and an MP from 2011 to 2019. in the previous term of office, Piotrowicz was the Justcie Committee chairman, thus co-responsible for changes into courts enforced since 2015. (In)famously, in communist Poland, Piotrowicz worked as a prosecutor from 1978 to 2002. Although he himself declares that he “has a beautiful past”, his activities during the period of martial law give rise to serious doubts. At the end of his prosecution activity in 2001, he became famous for defending a paedophile priest.


Pawłowicz and Piotrowicz were also members of the neo-National Council of Judiciary.

In the Ipsos poll* for OKO.press in April 2021, Poles were asked whether they think it is appropriate that people who until recently were PiS MPs, active in public life, are the Constitutional Tribunal judges. As many as 65% of the respondents said it was wrong, with as many as 49% saying it was “decidedly wrong”. Just 23% said it was normal practice.


Do you consider it appropriate that judges, who, among others, until recently were PiS MPs, who were active in public life, are members of the Constitutional Tribunal?


Decidedely yes – 9 %,

Rather yes – 14 %,

Rather no – 16 %

Decidedely no – 46 %

Don’t know/difficult to say – 16 %


Among those with primary and secondary school education, 41% of those surveyed considered judge-politicians to be inappropriate; whereas the figure was twice as high among those with bachelor’s degrees and higher, at a level of 80%.


This kind of judicial nomination is considered normal practice by just 22% of the respondents with primary and secondary school education. They were much more likely – as many as 36% of them – to choose the response don’t know/difficult to say.


A slightly greater divergence of opinions can be noticed by age. The older the respondents, the more favourably they look upon Krystyna Pawłowicz and Stanisław Piotrowicz in the Constitutional Tribunal. But even despite this upward trend, in the oldest group of people aged 60 plus, the acceptance for this state of affairs was just 33%.


Why are the youngest most critical? The answer is quite simple – they do not vote for PiS. In this age group, PiS had a terrible result in the recent Ipsos poll, gaining just 2% of support.


It is also significant that the youngest voters willingly support anti-establishment politicians, who promise to use as little politics as possible, stirring up disputes and demagogy in their actions. In other words, they make the assurance that they are not politicians. Therefore, in the eyes of this part of the electorate, the appointment of professional and active politicians to independent institutions is even worse than simply being a professional politician serving a third term of office in the Sejm.


The most decisive in their assessment are male and female voters of the Left Party. 100% of answers were ‘no’, including 96% ‘definitely no’. The Civic Coalition’s electorate is just as negative – 98% indicated that it was wrong, with only 2% rating it as appropriate.


Poland 2050 voters showed an acceptance rate of 7%, whereby they were only responses of ‘rather yes’. As many as 90% of the democratic opposition, which has a clear opinion about the matter of judge-politicians, does not agree with such a policy of filling posts in the Constitutional Tribunal.


But what about the PiS voters? The result of the support for such staffing of the Constitutional Tribunal at a level of 57% certainly does not indicate extensive acceptance of such a move among these voters.


Both Pawłowicz and Piotrowicz were controversial figures even by this formation’s standards. Pawłowicz was repeatedly pacified by her own political base, which, for example, required her to withhold her activity on Twitter. Piotrowicz was eliminated from national politics by the PiS voters themselves. The ex-prosecutor did not get voted into the Sejm in 2019. Both are certainly the party’s faithful soldiers and this may have been the prevailing argument for their positioning in the Constitutional Tribunal, where some PiS-appointed judges manage to rebel from time to time.


*A telephone survey conducted by Ipsos using CATI on 26-28 April 2021 on a nationwide representative sample of 1000 adult Poles. The sample population was stratified and proportional. The place of residence of the respondents was controlled by voivodship and the category of the size of the town.


This text is based on an article published at OKO.press, May 25, 2021. Translated by Roman Wojtasz


Journalist at OKO.press.



June 14, 2021


Supreme CourtDisciplinary ChamberConstitutional Tribunaldisciplinary proceedingsjudgesZbigniew ZiobroPolandCourt of Justice of the EUrule of lawEuropean CommissionNational Council of the Judiciaryjudicial independenceMałgorzata ManowskaEuropean UnionAndrzej DudaCourt of JusticeIgor Tuleyadisciplinary systemEuropean Court of Human RightsMateusz MorawieckiMinister of Justicemuzzle lawCommissioner for Human RightsCJEUJarosław KaczyńskiNational Recovery PlanWaldemar ŻurekPrzemysław RadzikKamil Zaradkiewiczdisciplinary commissionerPiotr Schabdemocracyneo-judgespresidential electionselectionsharassmentjudiciaryFirst President of the Supreme CourtAdam Bodnarpreliminary rulingsSupreme Administrative CourtK 3/21Hungarycriminal lawelections 2020National Council for JudiciaryMichał LasotaBeata MorawiecJulia PrzyłębskaprosecutorsŁukasz PiebiakDagmara Pawełczyk-WoickaEuropean Arrest WarrantMaciej NawackiPaweł JuszczyszynPrime MinisterPresidentmedia freedomProsecutor GeneralConstitutionCriminal ChamberRegional Court in KrakówCourt of Justice of the European UnionCOVID-19disciplinary liability for judgesWojciech HermelińskiMałgorzata GersdorfSejmMaciej FerekExtraordinary Control and Public Affairs ChamberEU budgetfreedom of expressionStanisław PiotrowiczMarek SafjanAleksander StepkowskiOSCEPresident of the Republic of PolandimmunityAnna Dalkowskaelections 2023National Public ProsecutorCouncil of Europecriminal proceedingsLabour and Social Security Chamberfreedom of assemblyStanisław Biernatconditionality mechanismconditionalityWłodzimierz WróbelLaw and JusticeprosecutionRecovery FundNCJMinistry of JusticeNational ProsecutorNational Electoral CommissionJarosław WyrembakAndrzej Zollacting first president of the Supreme CourtOrdo IurisK 7/21May 10 2020 electionsLex DudaNational Reconstruction PlanProfessional Liability ChamberPresident of PolandsuspensionLGBTXero Flor w Polsce Sp. z o.o. v. PolandBroda and Bojara v PolandReczkowicz and Others v. Polandparliamentmedia independenceIustitiaJarosław DudziczSylwia Gregorczyk-AbramAmsterdam District CourtKrzysztof ParchimowiczArticle 6 ECHRTHEMISEAWUrsula von der LeyenChamber of Professional LiabilityTVPmediaPiotr Prusinowski2017policeJustice Defence Committee – KOSFreedom HouseLech GarlickiEwa ŁętowskaSupreme Court PresidentArticle 7Venice CommissionPM Mateusz MorawieckiAndrzej StępkaPiotr GąciarekcorruptionP 7/20Justice FundPiSC-791/19Astradsson v IcelandK 6/21Piotr PszczółkowskiCivil ChamberJoanna Misztal-KoneckaPegasusMariusz KamińskisurveillanceCentral Anti-Corruption BureauGeneral Assembly of the Supreme Court Judgeslex NGOcivil societyRussiaJoanna Hetnarowicz-SikoraJarosław GowinLGBT ideology free zonesEdyta Barańskacriminal codeUkraineKrystian MarkiewiczKonrad WytrykowskiJakub IwaniecSenateZuzanna Rudzińska-BluszczMarcin WarchołDariusz DrajewiczRafał Puchalskidefamationcourtssmear campaignMichał WawrykiewiczFree CourtsmilestonesConstitutional Tribunal PresidentMarzanna Piekarska-DrążekEwa WrzosekEU law primacyLex Super OmniaAdam TomczyńskiBelgiumNetherlandsWojciech MaczugaBogdan Święczkowskijudcial independenceMaciej Miterademocratic backslidingViktor OrbanOLAFdecommunizationNext Generation EUvetoabortionJózef IwulskiLaw on the NCJrecommendationcommission on Russian influenceTeresa Dębowska-RomanowskaKazimierz DziałochaMirosław GranatAdam JamrózStefan JaworskiBiruta Lewaszkiewicz-PetrykowskaWojciech ŁączkowskiHuman Rights CommissionerMarek MazurkiewiczCCBEAndrzej MączyńskiThe Council of Bars and Law Societies of EuropeJanusz NiemcewiczMałgorzata Pyziak- SzafnickaStanisław Rymarpublic opinion pollFerdynand RymarzAndrzej RzeplińskiJerzy StępieńPiotr TulejaSławomira Wronkowska-JaśkiewiczMirosław WyrzykowskireportBohdan ZdziennickiMarek ZubikDidier ReyndersEuropean ParliamentOKO.pressZiobroDariusz ZawistowskiMichał Laskowskiintimidation of dissentersMarek PietruszyńskitransferKrystyna PawłowiczMariusz MuszyńskiPiebiak gatehuman rightsEuropean Association of Judges11 January March in WarsawPaweł FilipekMaciej TaborowskiMarian BanaśSupreme Audit OfficeAdam SynakiewiczBelarusstate of emergencyKrakówcoronavirusXero Flor v. PolandEU treatiesAgnieszka Niklas-BibikSłupsk Regional CourtMaciej Rutkiewiczresolution of 23 January 2020Mirosław WróblewskiLeon Kieresright to protestSławomir JęksaPKWWiktor JoachimkowskiRoman Giertychinfringment actionEU valuesMichał WośMinistry of FinanceENCJJacek SasinErnest BejdaThe First President of the Supreme CourtMaciej CzajkaMariusz JałoszewskiIsraelŁukasz Radkeforeign agents lawpolexitDolińska-Ficek and Ozimek v PolandOrganization of Security and Co-operation in EuropeFirst President of the Suprme CourtPaulina Kieszkowska-KnapikMaria Ejchart-DuboisAgreement for the Rule of LawPorozumienie dla PraworządnościLGBT free zonesAct sanitising the judiciaryequalityMarek AstChamber of Extraordinary Verificationhate crimesCourt of Appeal in Krakówhate speechPutinismKaczyńskiGrzęda v Polandright to fair trialPaulina AslanowiczJarosław MatrasŻurek v PolandMałgorzata Wąsek-WiaderekSobczyńska and Others v Polandct on the Protection of the PopulatiolegislationRafał Trzaskowskilex Wośmedia lawRome StatuteInternational Criminal CourtPrzemysła RadzikAntykastaStanisław ZdunIrena BochniakKrystyna Morawa-FryźlewiczKatarzyna ChmuraElżbieta KarskaMarcin RomanowskiGrzegorz FurmankiewiczJacek CzaputowiczMarek JaskulskiPrzemysław CzarnekJoanna Kołodziej-Michałowiczlegislative practiceEwa ŁąpińskaZbigniew ŁupinaENAPaweł StyrnaZbigniew BoniekKasta/AntykastaAndrzej SkowronŁukasz BilińskiIvan MischenkoOmbudsmanMonika FrąckowiakArkadiusz CichockiKraśnikEmilia SzmydtNorwayTomasz SzmydtNorwegian fundsNorwegian Ministry of Foreign AffairsE-mail scandalDworczyk leaksMichał DworczykC-487/19media pluralism#RecoveryFilesArticle 10 ECHRRegional Court in Amsterdamrepairing the rule of lawOpenbaar MinisterieAK judgmentBohdan BieniekSimpson judgmentMarcin KrajewskiForum Współpracy SędziówMałgorzata Dobiecka-Woźniakelectoral processChamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairspublic broadcasterWiesław KozielewiczNational Recovery Plan Monitoring CommitteeGrzegorz PudaPiotr MazurekJerzy Kwaśniewskimutual trustPetros Tovmasyancourt presidentsLMODIHRIrelandFull-Scale Election Observation MissionNGOIrena MajcherAmsterdamKarolina MiklaszewskaRafał LisakMałgorzata FroncJędrzej Dessoulavy-ŚliwińskiSebastian Mazurekthe Regional Court in WarsawElżbieta Jabłońska-MalikSzymon Szynkowski vel SękUnited NationsJoanna Scheuring-Wielgusinsulting religious feelingsLeszek Mazuroppositionelectoral codeAdam Gendźwiłłpopulisminterim measuresDariusz Dończykautocratizationtest of independenceMultiannual Financial FrameworkTomasz Koszewskipublic mediaJakub Kwiecińskiabortion rulingdiscriminationequal treatmentAct on the Supreme Courtprotestselectoral commissionsfundamental rightsthe NetherlandsEuropean Court of HuDenmarkKrzysztof RączkaSwedenPoznańFinlandKoan LenaertsMariusz KrasońKarol WeitzCT PresidentKaspryszyn v PolandGermanyNCR&DCelmerNCBiRC354/20 PPUThe National Centre for Research and DevelopmentC412/20 PPUEuropean Anti-Fraud Office OLAFAusl 301 AR 104/19Justyna WydrzyńskaKarlsruheAgnieszka Brygidyr-Doroszact on misdemeanoursJoanna KnobelCivil Service ActCrimes of espionageParliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeEUextraordinary commissionZbigniew KapińskiWhite PaperAnna GłowackalustrationCourt of Appeal in Warsawtransitional justiceOsiatyński'a Archive2018Nations in TransitCouncil of the EUmedia taxStanisław Zabłockiadvertising taxmediabezwyboruJacek KurskiKESMAIndex.huTelex.huJelenJózsef SzájerKlubrádióSLAPPLIBE CommitteeStrategic Lawsuits Against Public ParticipationFrans TimmermansGazeta WyborczaUS Department of StatePollitykaBrussels IRome IISwieczkowskiArticle 2Forum shoppingadvocate generaltransparencyEuropean Economic and Social Committeepress releaseSebastian KaletaRights and Values ProgrammeC-156/21C-157/21C-619/18Marek Piertuszyńskidefamatory statementsWorld Justice Project awardNational Prosecutor’s OfficeWojciech SadurskiBogdan ŚwiączkowskiDisicplinary ChamberjudgeTribunal of StatePechOlsztyn courtKochenovPrzemysła CzarnekEvgeni TanchevEducation MinisterFreedom in the WorldECJIpsosFrackowiakOlimpia Barańska-Małuszeretirement ageAmnesty InternationalHudocKonrad SzymańskiPiotr Bogdanowicztrans-Atlantic valuesPiotr BurasLSOauthoritarian equilibriumlawyersArticle 258Act of 20 December 2019clientelismoligarchic systemEuropean Public Prosecutor's Officerepressive actPolish National FoundationLux VeritatisKoen LenaertsMałgorzata BednarekPiotr WawrzykharrassmentAlina CzubieniakTVNjournalistslexTVNGerard BirgfellerEwa MaciejewskaPolish mediapostal voteRzeszówborderpostal vote billprimacy