The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is ten days into its two week search for a Deputy Chief Justice.
Fourteen candidates are looking to be nominated for the position after David Mwaure Waihiga opted out of the race to replace the retired Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal.
Dr Isaac Michael Rutenberg, the remaining male candidate vying for the position, has been told he is not qualified for the position.
The Judicial Service Commission panel interviewing candidates for the post told Isaac M. Rutenberg that he lacks extensive knowledge of Kenyan law.
Dr Ruternberg has never served in the Judiciary, a requirement outlined in Article 166 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. He however argues that he can serve in the highest court through research as done by other judges.
”I would not consider myself an expert on Kenyan constitutional law, but I have substantive knowledge on matters I have specialized in.”
“I believe the Deputy Chief Justice provides intellectual leadership and must have excellent knowledge of the law.”
Margaret Kobia, the head of the JSC team, terminated the interview after Dr Rutenberg’s responses. She said “It’s clear you are not qualified since you have only practiced law for five years.”
Dr Rutenberg did not agree with her as he fought back saying he was qualified because the Constitution did not specify the time of graduation from law school as a requirement for the position.
The chemistry professor has a doctor of law degree (JD) from Santa Clara University School of Law, California. His area of expertise is intellectual property law and is a practicing patent lawyer with Science & Technology Law Group.
He has however never practiced law in Kenya and acknowledged that he had not taken the Kenyan bar exam.