Egypt’s Supreme Court

FACT: Last month Egypt’s parliament passed a new law on public demonstrations in the vicinity of religious facilities (churches, mosques, etc.).  Already, lawyers are planning for an appeal and review of the law before Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (photo left), the nation’s highest judicial body.  

 

ANALYSIS: I wrote earlier that at the Microsoft Institute we’re thinking about ways to help improve the operations and capabilities of the judicial branch of government, at various levels. 

Perhaps my interest has been piqued by the fact that, for quite a while, I’ve been sleeping with a brilliant lawyer – oh, that would be my wife Kathryn. While she’s retired from active practice, she spends some volunteer time each week at the U.S. Supreme Court, giving public lectures on the history of the Court and its justices for the Curator’s Office.

One of the fun protocol aspects of her job there is periodically greeting jurists and legal groups from other countries – often their equivalents to our Supreme Court justices.  She’ll give them a VIP tour behind the scenes and entertain their questions and observations about the comparisons and contrasts between legal systems. 

 This frieze, an interesting piece of architecture in the U.S. Supreme Court’s impressive Court Chamber, often serves as a telling point for insight into judicial history; the Court’s own public document describing the building says only that “The frieze is decorated with medallion profiles of lawgivers,” but in fact included there are a procession of 18 famous lawgivers including Egypt’s own King Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Confucius, Mohamed, Napoleon, and early Chief Justice John Marshall among others, a collection which always impresses international visitors.

Anyway, while in Cairo this month, at my wife’s behest I made sure to go by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt (SCC). It is an absolutely stunning building; I have a few other photographs here.

There’s a good Wikipedia article on Egypt’s SCC, which points out that “The Court’s new building is designed by an Egyptian young architect Ahmed Mito. The building is styled in a monumental scale. It includes counseling halls, a multi purpose hall for 450 people, offices, a library, a museum, and a large atrium that rises up to 18 meters and is covered by a dome.”  And there’s more architectural background and context at this link

Next visit, I would love to set up a meeting with Court personnel to learn more about their work.


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6 Responses

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