The pulse with the Judicial Power initiated by Andrés Manuel López Obrador with a letter in which he asks to investigate a judge is not a specific episode. The president of Mexico himself has warned, who has promised to act in the same way in all cases he deems appropriate. The president, who has waged a battle against everything he identifies as a symbol of the past, is also willing to confront the courts. The criticisms, practically unanimous, that he has received for his interference have not stopped him and this Tuesday he took another step by launching a warning: “The judges cannot be untouchable.”
The spigot was a litigation that last week froze, just after its entry into force, the electricity reform. Judge Juan Pablo Gómez Fierro admitted the resource of a wind farm, which left one of López Obrador’s star projects in limbo, which gives priority to supply the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over private initiative. The president asked Arturo Zaldívar, president of the Supreme Court and the Federal Judicial Council, to open an investigation, publicly questioning his impartiality. However, the same judge ruled in favor of López Obrador on at least two occasions, regarding the consultation on the Texcoco airport and on the mandatory nature of the escort that the Presidential General Staff wanted to impose on him.
López Obrador showed satisfaction with his request and the response that Zaldívar sent on Monday. “I am very grateful to the President of the Supreme Court, Minister Arturo Zaldívar, because he answered me and accepted our complaint. He is at the same time president of the Council of the Judiciary and that is the body that has to deal with this matter, if it considers carrying out an investigation, “he said. But immediately afterwards he added: “But it is already in the appropriate body, it is already in the hands of the judiciary advisers, which is what I want and I will continue to do so in all cases, because there are many.”
In reality, the response from the governing body of the judiciary had been strictly institutional and also contained a warning to the president. “As appropriate in these cases, your complaint will be forwarded to the corresponding area so that, if there are elements for it, the investigation that may be appropriate is opened, with full respect for the autonomy and independence of the jurisdictional function,” Zaldívar informed him. . The minister of the Supreme Court took advantage of the occasion to remind the chief executive that, in some way, he crossed a border. “As you know, it is a prerequisite for democracy and the rule of law that judges can act within a framework of autonomy in independence. It is the responsibility of the Federal Judiciary Council to ensure that they can do so freely and, in the same way, it is the authority of said body to ensure that the judging persons behave in accordance with the law ”.
López Obrador’s messages did not adhere, in addition, to the specific decision of the judge who stopped the electricity reform, a measure to which a similar one was later added. The substance of his speech goes further and is a warning to sailors. “Before, I used to say, the Judiciary was like The castle of purityA judge, a magistrate, a minister were never punished, ”he said. These words did not prevent him from pronouncing other phrases that seem to say one thing and the opposite: “Of course it is not interference with the Judicial Power and we are respectful of the autonomy, the independence of the judges, but they cannot be untouchable, that is over. that you cannot touch the untouchable ”.
These signals have cost him harsh criticism, which has come from the ranks of the opposition, but, above all, from the affected sector, very concerned about the lightness with which the president has launched accusations without any proof. On Monday he did it, for example, against José Ramón Cossío, former minister of the Court and columnist for this newspaper. Cossío observes this behavior with concern, which in his opinion reflects “a dispute to know how much the president is going to accept judicial decisions.”
The Mexican bar associations issued a joint statement rejecting the pressure from López Obrador. “Given the escalation of the statements of the Federal Executive related to litigation in the energy sector, we express our sincere concern about the inhibitory effects that they may have on the exercise of free profession and on the independent exercise of the judiciary,” he says. a statement from the legal profession. “We consider it intrusive in the professional exercise and judicial activity that individuals are accused in particular for exercising the rights of their clients, or for exercising their judgment and judicial discretion in the exercise of their functions as judge, he continues. The lawyers call for a “dialogue in favor of the preservation of democracy and the rule of law, without arbitrary interference, respecting at all times the presumption of innocence and due legal process.”
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