Egyptian Judges Challenge Morsi Over New Power
The association of judges here called Saturday for courts across Egypt to suspend all but their most vital activities to protest an edict by President Mohamed Morsi granting himself unchecked power by setting his decrees above judicial review until the ratification of a new constitution.
The judges’ strike, which drew the support of the leader of the national lawyers’ association, would be the steepest escalation yet in a political struggle between the country’s new Islamist leaders and the institutions of the authoritarian government that was overthrown last year. As it spills into the courts and the streets, the dispute also increasingly threatens to undermine the credibility of Egypt’s political transition as well.
A council that oversees the judiciary denounced Mr. Morsi’s decree, which was issued Thursday, as “an unprecedented attack on judicial independence,” and urged the president to retract parts of the decree eliminating judicial oversight.
State news media reported that judges and prosecutors had already walked out in Alexandria, and there were other news reports of walkouts in Qulubiya and Beheira, but those could not be confirmed.