Monday, March 4, 2024

Dissident judges could be considered accomplices to corruption, president warns

Supreme Court judges would become accomplices to corruption if they don’t approve the extension of the term of the court’s chief justice, President López Obrador said Monday.

The Congress last Friday approved a law supported by López Obrador to extend the term of Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar by two years despite the fact that the constitution clearly states that the chief justice cannot be reelected for the period immediately following his term.

Zaldívar said in a statement that it would be up to the Supreme Court itself to resolve any legal challenges to the law, which extends his term until 2024, the year López Obrador’s presidency ends.

At his regular news conference on Monday, the president agreed with a reporter who suggested that judges would become accomplices to “the corruption we so want to eradicate from Mexico” if they don’t endorse the move to increase Zaldívar’s term to six years.

López Obrador said that Supreme Court judges would be supporting the “regime of corruption” if they don’t approve the extension, which would also allow Zaldívar to remain at the head of the Federal Judiciary Council (CJF) for an additional two years.

“… In this case, what was approved were laws to reform the judicial power, and it was taken into account that these reforms will take place only if the president of the Supreme Court and the [Federal] Judiciary Council is an honorable, upright person who doesn’t belong to the same groups of economic and political power that led the country to ruin,” he said.

Supreme Court chief justice Arturo Saldívar. Opponents of extending his term until 2024 say the move would be unconstitutional.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Saldívar. Opponents of extending his term until 2024 say the move would be unconstitutional.

The laws to overhaul the judicial power — among which are reforms designed to eliminate corruption, nepotism and harassment in the court system — would be pointless if the Supreme Court and the CJF is led by a “conservative party character” who is servile to outside interests, especially those of the “economic power that was never concerned about the people,” López Obrador said.

“What’s the point of carrying out a reform like that if it’s dead in the water?” he said.

López Obrador emphasized the need to have an honest, incorruptible person at the head of the CJF because “it’s the body in charge of ensuring the good behavior of the judges, magistrates [and] justices.”

“It’s the body that can carry out the transformation of the judicial power, watching that the judges aren’t like they are now, at the service of the rich and powerful,” he said.

The president said that institutions are important but so too are those who lead them. Independence from Spain and 19th-century liberal reforms wouldn’t have been achieved without the leadership of independence hero Miguel Hidalgo and former president Benito Juárez, López Obrador said.

He clearly sees Zaldívar — considered an ally of the president — as a key enabler of his ambition to carry out a “fourth transformation” of Mexico that he says is on par in importance with independence, the liberal reforms and the Mexican Revolution.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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