For the defense

Your story on the Constitutional Court analyzed the reasons individual candidates were not successful in the Senate during the selection of judges to the court ["Senator sees treason in court delay," News, May 12-18]. I am one of the candidates who was mentioned.

In the story, Senator Zdenek Barta said about me: "I respect Vesela-Samkova's work on behalf of the Romany community, but this post requires a mature personality. She also lacked knowledge of legal theory."

Ignoring the fact that telling a woman over 40 that she is not mature is always flattering, there are several principal inconsistencies in Senator Barta's statement. The constitution establishes an age requirement of 40 for judges on the Constitutional Court. Questioning a candidate's age when the age requirement is met in fact impeaches the constitution of the Czech Republic. Furthermore, it is clear that this requirement is based on political consensus, which may change. Act no. 91/1991 Sb. of the Constitutional Court of the Czech and Slovak Federation set the age requirement for judges of the Constitutional Court at 35. That happened for the sake of JUDr. Ernest Valek, who was 38 when he was nominated as a judge of the Constitutional Court of Czechoslovakia. Nonetheless his legal opinions were so reputable that former deputies of the Federal Assembly decided to lower the age requirement.

In 1993, when JUDr. Pavel Hollander, current deputy chairman of the Constitutional Court, became judge of the Constitutional Court of the independent Czech Republic for the first time, he was 40 years old, too. Nevertheless, he became a highly valued member of the judges' assembly and was nominated and confirmed in this function even for the second time.

Concerning legal theory, it is necessary to note that Mr. Barta expresses himself on a thing he knows nothing about. During the Senate's confirmation process, not a single question concerning my opinion on human rights was asked, nor a question on legal theory! Everyone was interested only in subjects worthy of tabloid newspapers. As I mentioned in my materials, I was enrolled in the doctoral study of legal theory at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University in Brno, where I am now successfully finishing my first year of a three-year course of study. Therefore it is possible to say that I have much deeper knowledge of legal theory than the successful candidates.

There is another fact that speaks for my knowledge of the law: Since my nomination, the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to admit another application I made. That means I became, if I am not mistaken, the only lawyer in the Czech Republic to have two applications accepted by that court. Moreover, I won for one of my clients another constitutional petition at the Constitutional Court. If someone such as Senator Barta believes these results are to be achieved without a deep knowledge of legal theory, that person is deeply wrong.

An old Czech proverb says, "Any stick will do to beat a dog." I am curious what else I am going to learn about myself and why I was not elected. The alleged ignorance of legal theory is the latest innovation on this subject. And what is next?