Update 5:18 p.m. According to the New York Times's Daivd Kirkpatrick, Morsi has walked back some of the powers he gave himself. "The agreement, reached with top judicial authorities, would leave most of Mr. Morsi’s actions subject to review by the courts, but it appears to preserve a crucial power: protecting the country’s constitutional council from being dissolved by the courts before it finishes its work," reports Kirkpatrick citing a television report by a network aligned with Morsi's party. As of now, the judges whom Morsi met with still haven't confirmed the agreement.
After handing himself new powers over the weekend — and taking heat for it across the globe — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi met with the country's top judges to assure them that he hasn't usurped their authority. And at least one of those judicial groups — and maybe even the Obama administration — isn't buying it. Morsi spent his Monday afternoon meeting in Cairo with members of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a legal body which represent senior judges, trying to convince them that he really didn't give overstep his boundaries when he issued a set of presidential decrees granting himself close to absolute power. The judges, along with Egypt's protesting civillians, didn't buy it, the AP reports. "The judiciary, the main target of Morsi's edicts, also has pushed back, calling the decrees a power grab and an 'assaulton the branch's independence.'" This comes just one day after another legal body representing Egypt's judges, the Judges Club, "called for a nationwide strike to protest Morsi’s decrees," reported France 24. As Morsi's meeting with judges finished up Monday, Jay Carney and the Obama administration voiced their own concerns:
Carney on Egypt: “we have some concerns about the decisions and declarations that were announced.”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 26, 2012
And, there's the fact that Morsi went from hero to villain faster than you can say "Gaza ceasefire":
Carney on Morsi’s power grab after POTUS praised him for role in Gaza ceasefire: “we see those as separate issues.”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 26, 2012
Clearly, Morsi is having a hard time convincing people that all that power he assigned himself is a good thing, but that won't stop him or his people from telling anyone and everyone that there's absolutely nothing wrong with his large power grab:
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters Monday that Mohammed Morsi assured the judges that the decrees did not in any way "infringe" on the judiciary.
Ali's comments signaled Morsi's resolve not to back down or compromise on the steps he announced Thursday, putting himself and a body writing a new constitution above the judiciary.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.