Approval for Constitutional Court judge falls short

  • 2005-03-09
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIUS- Parliament outvoted Presidential Adviser Toma Birmontiene, a candidate for the position of Constitutional Court judge, in a secret ballot on March 15. Approval of her candidacy, which required a majority of votes, fell short by two votes. As many as 54 MPs voted in favor of Birmontiene, 53 against, and 4 votes were found void.

President Valdas Adamkus, who nominated Birmontiene, is currently visiting Israel. Speaking on behalf of Adamkus, Rita Grumadaite said that, "the president accepts the parliamentary decision as it is, without any comments."

Before the voting, Birmontiene was reminded about a thesis she had defended in Moscow, which focused on the Soviet militia's establishment in Lithuania and its struggle against bourgeois nationalists. Members of Parliament also brought up the fact that Birmontiene's father belonged to the NKVD, a Soviet security unit. During the Soviet era, bourgeois nationalists were considered freedom fighters.

Remigijus Acas, a member of the Liberal Democrat faction, said that Birmontiene, who defended her dissertation in 1988-1989, was "a loyal servant to the Soviet ideology." He added that her father, Alfonsas Mockevicius, fought in a Veisejai-based NKVD unit in 1944-1945.

In 2003 Acas served as the national security adviser to President Rolandas Paksas, who was later impeached. Acas was forced to resign following suspicions that he had criminal connections.

Before the voting, only the Liberal Democrats declared open disapproval of Birmontiene's candidacy. The Homeland Union faction voted unreservedly on her candidacy, while other factions declared support.

According to the constitution, the Constitutional Court of nine judges is to be renewed by one-third, meaning that three judges must be replaced once every three years. This process is called partial rotation of judges.