Egypt's Highest Court Postpones Key Ruling

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 2 2012 3:51 PM

Egypt's Highest Court Goes on Srike, Postpones Key Ruling

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Hundreds of supporters of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi protest outside Egypt-s highest court Sunday

Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Judges in Egypt’s highest court joined other judges across the country in declaring a strike Sunday, the same day it was supposed to rule on the legality of the Islamist controlled assembly that drafted a new constitution. The Supreme Constitutional Court indefinitely postponed the long-awaited meeting saying it would not convene until its judges could operate without “psychological and physical pressures,” reports the New York Times. Several hundred supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had gathered outside the building and some of the members of the court reported receiving death threats, according to the Telegraph.

The judges from the highest court effectively joined the country’s highest appeals court and other judges across the country that had already called for a strike to protest what they say is Morsi’s attack on the judiciary, reports the Associated Press. The judicial protests could affect Morsi’s call for a referendum on the draft constitution on Dec. 15. The Judges Club, an influential union, said it would not supervise the vote, as is customary in Egypt. But Reuters points out that the decisions by the Judges Club aren’t binding to members. Those details aside, the clear effort to push a new constitution despite objections has led to a unified opposition that called for new protests on the presidential palace Tuesday. If the sides don’t make any effort at compromise, the current tensions could mark “one of the gravest dangers facing Egypt's democratic-transition process since the toppling of the regime of former strongman Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago,” notes the Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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