“As judges approached the court in the morning, they found protesters surrounding the building, blocking its gates, climbing its fence and chanting anti-judge slogans inciting people against [the judges]. Judges couldn’t access the court, as this would have endangered them due to the unstable security condition,” the court’s statement said. “The Supreme Constitutional Court’s judges have no choice other than declaring their inability to perform their sacred duties in such an atmosphere full of hatred and the desire for revenge.”
Opponents vowed to keep speaking up against Morsi’s declaration and the upcoming constitutional referendum. They scheduled a march to the presidential palace for Tuesday, and several news organizations said they would not publish or broadcast Tuesday as a form of protest.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi vowed to go forward, believing that the approval of the constitution will make the court’s eventual ruling irrelevant.
“If the constitution is passed then that is it. There is no authority above the authority of the people. The ruling won’t have any value,” said Amr Darrag, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the constitutional assembly, outlining the planned approach in an interview with McClatchy last month.
So far, it appeared that Morsi has enough support to push his position, though his standing has eroded in the five months since he took the oath of office as Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
On Sunday, the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research released a poll of 2,008 Egyptians that found Morsi had a 57 percent approval rating. That was down, however, from 78 percent after Morsi’s first 100 days, according to the state news agency. The poll was conducted Nov. 28-29.
There was no sign of give in Morsi’s position. Protesters remained camped outside the court Sunday night. The Brotherhood’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, urged them to allow judges and employees to enter the court but did not discourage them from remaining.
McClatchy special correspondent Amina Ismail contributed to this report.