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EU takes Poland to court over judicial crackdown

Protester with hand on Poland constitution
A protestor places his hand on the Polish constitution. Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The European Commission has asked the EU's top court to rule on whether Poland has violated “the principle of judicial independence” in response to a crackdown on the Polish Supreme Court that critics say undermines the country's checks and balances.

The big picture: Poland's government, controlled by the right-wing populist Law and Justice party, implemented a law in April that cut the retirement age for Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, forcing 27 out of 72 sitting judges to step down. The EU passed a motion last year censuring Poland for undermining Europe's democratic values, though repercussions are unlikely due to Poland's alliance with Hungary and its illiberal government.