By Marco Antonio Flores
Three recent events in the federal judiciary seem to have shaken its mission, robustness and independence to the test.
The first, to engage in an “unconstitutional” initiative to consult for the “trial of former presidents.”
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) ended up holding a military parade and rephrasing a question without a foot or head, rather than dismissing it from the start.
Secondly, the proposal to extend the term of the Minister President of the National Council of Press and Justice, which appeared from April 2021, but was rejected until August by Minister President Arturo Zaldivar, but this is still not enough, because the National Council of Journalists has not yet declared its unconstitutionality.
And third, the recent crisis of the Electoral Tribunal for the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF), when five of its ministers by majority dismissed its president, José Luis Vargas.
Four months of uncertainty over SCJN’s future, but that Zaldívar cut the rumors by publicly announcing that he refused to extend his term as SCJN and CJF chairman.
The only grain in rice: the delay in announcing it, because he knew the proposal was clearly unconstitutional. It remains a mystery why and why the famous interim article was introduced to the reform proposal. Several hypotheses were addressed: If the idea came from the legal advisor to the Presidency of the Republic, Julio Scherer. that the initiative came from Ricardo Monreal, when, since last April, Senator Raul Bolanos-Cacho Coy of the Green Party, ordered the addition of a transitional article – the thirteenth – to the reform of the judiciary at the last minute so that Zaldivar could preside over the court and the judiciary until November 2024; that it was the idea of President Andres Manuel López Obrador and for this very reason he encouraged it; That Minister President Arturo Zaldivar himself has been consulted flirting with the idea.
And so more versions of the same style, but no one made it clear where the proposal came from and what the real intention was … And we will obviously never know the real mastermind.
But the truth is that it has caused great fatigue and called into question the independence of the judiciary.
In the wake of the wave of statements made by President Lopez Obrador and prominent leaders in his government, authorized from the beginning of his administration, questioning the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, doubts arose about a plan to dismantle and restructure the entire judiciary, as at one point proposed by Senate leader Ricardo Monreal.
There was even a fear on the part of the Minister, President of the National Press and Justice Council, that they might force him to resign, as happened in the nineteenth century when President Manuel Gonzalez was forced to resign by President Manuel Gonzalez in 1882. Governor of Oaxaca Porfirio Diaz. And they considered him a dangerous enemy and an obstacle to their ambitions and a great obstacle in their desire to control the decisions and appointments issued by the Supreme Court, in the lists of liquidation submitted to the Minister of Justice for the positions of Judicial Judges. and circuit judges.
Coming back to the question of extending Zaldivar’s term, it will always be in the air if it is a strategy to pressure, constrain, and submit to the president of the National Press, Justice and Judicial Reform Council … or it is the preamble – the “laboratory” – to extend or re-elect the presidential term.
In this regard, we must try to reinterpret what President Lopez Obrador said during the debate that extending Zaldivar’s term is in line with his government’s goals of eliminating corruption and promoting a change in political life in Mexico.
“For there to be a change, Minister Zaldivar (and no one else) has to last until 2024. It is not a re-election, it should end in 2024; I hope the rest of the ministers appointed by the old regime will support it and when politics was in the service of minorities And not in the service of the people,” the president said in June.
For his part, Minister President Arturo Zaldivar, in his defense of the delay in his decision, indicated that he is awaiting approval of the “judicial reform” to confirm his position.
It should be noted that “judicial reform” undoubtedly represents progress in various technical aspects of the administration of justice. The question is how the sentences will be simplified and made transparent, if these reforms do not go hand in hand with a deep internal administrative reform. There was no review of the huge and complex structure of the Federal Judicial Council, and the role of its advisors in promoting its modernization.
It is not known whether topics such as compacting the structure, having an effective technology platform, establishing agile evaluation mechanisms and managerial technical control were included.
How to fortify a scheme is, in essence, gibberish, with six advisers coming from three different origins—the Senate, the House and the Executive—who make administrative decisions in a collegial manner by very different criteria or that, when appropriate, are entrusted to the bureaucrats who make the final decisions only to be voted on. It is through an abstract and complex plenary that she learns more about the technical issues of the administration of justice, but not about the administrative issues.
‘A new judicial career’
Between the CJF’s plenary session, the new “Judicial Training School” and the Academic Committee, the concern that arises is how it will be determined that those elected meet the requirements of the “new appearance of judges who are closer to the people, more trained and more sensitive”.
To create a judicial school, in which all the cadres of the judiciary are formed, thus giving birth for the first time to a true judicial profession, which requires more than complex and undefined management and selection systems, which is simpler or more demonstrable.
Perhaps in this matter the experience of the career diplomatic corps can be taken as a reference. Or rely on the major institutions of higher education, which teach the legal profession, from there to open the option to young people who have a judicial career with programs developed jointly, for example, between UNAM and SCJN Law School.
At the time, the illustrious former minister of the Supreme Council of the Press, José Vicente Aguinaco, said when referring to “external” alternatives to the Supreme Court: “The practice of those coming from abroad is healthy. Inbreeding is not good, but inbreeding is good. There you have – he added – the nobles who married and never left there. What children did they give, you little fools, right?
Islah seeks that “public defenders are true advocates of the poor, who succeed in bringing justice to the furthest corners of the country, the poorest, the most forgotten, the most discriminated against, and those who have lost hope in justice” … But who or how this purpose will be ensured .
No. Public Defender’s Office has decades of existence. The question is how it will be enforced, and how it is ensured that the poorest and most vulnerable now have competent and qualified ombudsmen.
On the other hand, nepotism, sexual harassment and the genetic record of public officials are found in the Public Officials Responsibilities Act, and even in the Penal Code, as crimes and exact figures. Why hasn’t reform in corruption cases been linked to the national anti-corruption system? “Observers’ offices” can be both judicial and partisan, depending on the highest officials in the judiciary, in terms of appointment, operation, and penalties.
Why has it not been opened, in the spirit of transparency, to new schemes of requirements, capabilities and expertise, backed by other bodies such as the Supreme Auditor of the Federation (ASF) or the collective group of those who make up the SNA? It is understood as a very complex task of preserving the independence of the judiciary, while allowing other representations or authorities to intervene, but mechanisms can be designed to achieve greater transparency without undermining the ‘independence’.
What must be admitted, after all the recent tests that the judiciary has been through, is that there is leadership and unity within the nation’s highest court. President Minister Arturo Zaldivar demonstrated skill and political sensitivity to avoid attacks. In the event of the TEPJF crisis, its intervention allowed for reconciliation, dialogue and proper legal solutions through the formal “resignation” of ousted president’s judge Jose Luis Vargas, while the appointed replacement, Reyes Rodríguez Mondragón, resigned from office.
With the election of Judge Felipe Fuentes Barrera as President of the TEPJF, a successful political solution to the aforementioned crisis was presented. Certainly, between now and the end of his presidency in 2022, the Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, Arturo Zaldivar, will continue to promote the very important and recently approved “judicial reform”.
You will have the opportunity to make the required modifications in its implementation. With this, the Supreme Council of the Judiciary and the Judiciary, as a whole, will achieve the necessary and urgent improvements and developments for decades.
For an effective administration of justice and the search for an authentic rule of law, 130 million Mexicans will maintain the desire and hope for its realization.
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