The court: 21 judges appointed by the president for life terms
Activism: Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court cemented its reputation as one of the world's most active judiciaries on June 14 when it dissolved the country's Islamist-controlled parliament, throwing the country's electoral process for yet another loop. The decision followed a ruling in May that barred 10 candidates from the presidential race, including the Muslim Brotherhood's top candidate, millionaire backroom fixer Khairat el-Shater.
The court ruled that a third of the parliament had been elected unconstitutionally, therefore delegitimizing the entire body. That order follows another controversial ruling on the same day that allowed former President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, to stay in the presidential race, which critics denounced as paving the way for the old regime to retain power.
Egypt's Supreme Court bench is filled entirely with judges appointed by Mubarak, a group with an obvious interest in blocking the Muslim Brotherhood from taking power. The Brotherhood won nearly half of the parliamentary seats in last year's legislative election, and other Islamists gained another 20 percent. Even though Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was announced as the winner of the election on Sunday, it's still not clear how much authority he will be allowed by military authorities and presidential allies on the court. Critics around the world have joined the Brotherhood in chalking up the court's rulings to a "soft military coup." The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is supposed to turn over political leadership to a civilian administration on June 30, but with the court's not-so-subtle attempts to keep the Brotherhood from wielding real clout, many fear that the SCAF will retain control indefinitely.
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