Head of Poland's top court vows to resist removal

Polish President Andrzej Duda

The head of Poland's Supreme Court, Malgorzata Gersdorf, entered the court building Wednesday in defiance of a controversial new law that has escalated tensions between the European Union and Poland's government.

"I will still come to work tomorrow, since according to the constitution I have a six-year term to complete", Gersdorf said in parliament after a meeting with Duda.

Gersdorf, 65, thanked the crowd and said she was acting to protect Poland's constitution and the rule of law.

"The European Union does not need Nord Stream 2, which increases the risk of Central Europe being destabilized and which gives Russian Federation very strong tools of influence, not only over the European economy, but also on European policy", Morawiecki said.

Chief Justice Malgorzata Gersdorf, 65, had been told to step down at midnight on Tuesday and a replacement was named. The law also establishes a disciplinary chamber, which The New York Times said the governing party could use to intimidate judges.

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In a separate statement, the commission said it took the view "that these measures undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges".

"Values, goals, norms are constant and unified, but people change and they can make mistakes - that's why values are the most important and we have to apply and demand those values", Gersdorf said before thanking supporters for "coming so early this morning - while I overslept!"

Unless Poland responds sufficiently to the EU's challenges, they could risk losing voting rights and funding.

Legislation enforcing the retirement of some Supreme Court judges, including the tribunal's chief, is at the center of a conflict between Poland and the European Union.

The EU on Monday launched legal action against Poland over the Supreme Court reforms that critics have decried as unconstitutional. It is seen as the ruling Law and Justice party's clampdown on the top court.

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Thousands of Poles took to the streets Tuesday night in noisy protest, chanting, holding.

WARSAW, Poland Hundreds of anti-government protesters rallied in front of the Polish Supreme Court on Wednesday in an act of solidarity with the court's president, who is being forced to retire under a new judicial overhaul. The domestic upheaval as well as concerns by the European Commission prompted authorities to concede to some changes, though the main thrust of the legislation has remained the same.

On Monday, the European Commission announced it was formally notifying the Polish government of the launching of a so-called infringement procedure over the mass dismissals. But EU officials have sharply disagreed, saying Poland willingly signed on to EU rules when it joined the community, and that the courts must be counted on to also uphold EU contracts and law.

It also called for the government to "ensure that judges can exercise their judicial functions free from retaliatory action or other forms of pressure, including politically motivated disciplinary proceedings, harassment and intimidation".

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