CAIRO — Egypt’s highest court insisted Monday that its ruling that led to the dissolution of the Islamist-dominated parliament was final and binding, setting up a showdown with the country’s newly elected president.
The announcement on state TV came a day after President Mohammed Morsi recalled the lawmakers, defying the powerful military’s decision to dismiss parliament after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that a third of its members had been elected illegally.
However, both sides appeared together Monday at a military graduation ceremony.
Mr. Morsi sat between the head of the armed forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan. The three sat grim faced for most of the ceremony, but Field Marshal Tantawi and Mr. Morsi exchanged a few words while seated on the reviewing stand.
The court made the decision in an emergency meeting even as the speaker of the dissolved legislature, Saad el-Katatni, called for parliament’s lower chamber, the People's Assembly, to convene Tuesday.
The court’s ruling did not cover parliament’s upper chamber, known as the Shura Council, which is largely toothless.
Both Mr. Morsi and Mr. el-Katatni are longtime members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist group that long has been at odds with the military and other Islamists, holds the majority of parliamentary seats.
The move to restore parliament appeared to be an effort to exert Mr. Morsi’s authority as president despite a series of moves by the military before his election aimed at limiting his powers.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took over governing the country after Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising last year, and the ruling generals have come under criticism for being slow to hand over power to a civilian administration.
Mr. Morsi’s executive order made no mention of the court’s ruling, restricting itself to revoking the military’s decree to dissolve the chamber. That appeared to be an attempt to avoid being seen as flouting a legal decision.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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