On June 19, 2003, Néstor Kirchner, Alberto Fernández and Gustavo Beliz signed Decree 222 that established different requirements to nominate new members of the Supreme Court. The President, the Chief of Cabinet and the Minister of Justice proposed a mechanism of institutional transparency at a time marked by a strong confrontation between the Casa Rosada and the automatic majority of the high court appointed by Carlos Menem.
“It is established that, once a vacancy has occurred in the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, within a maximum period of thirty (30) days, It will be published in the Official Gazette and in at least TWO (2) newspapers of national circulation, for THREE (3) days, the name and curricular background of the person or persons who are being considered for the coverage of the vacancy “, Decree 222 establishes in its article 4, regulating article 99, paragraph 4 of the National Constitution.
Elena Highton de Nolasco resigned from the Supreme Court on November 1, and Alberto Fernández should have nominated his successor before the legal term of the decree that he signed in 2003 with Kirchner and then Minister Beliz expired.
The president breached the rule he signed as Kirchner’s chief of staff, but there will be no administrative or judicial sanctions. Decree 222/03 does not provide penalties throughout its 11 articles.
What’s more, It is an irregular situation that will not have an immediate solution. A candidate for the Supreme Court needs two-thirds of the members of the Senate present, and that is an impossible political goal for Balcarce 50 to achieve.
From next December 10, the ruling party in the Upper House will have 35 members, and with that number it is impossible to appoint a member of the high court without an agreement with Juntos por el Cambio. The opposition bench is already reluctant to agree on simple issues for the Senate, and now he is waiting for the Casa Rosada to present an institutional agreement that includes all federal justice.
The political situation in Together for Change is complex and without a single leadership. Horacio Rodríguez Larreta does not think like Mauricio Macri, and Alfredo Cornejo is light years away from Elisa Carrió’s political perspective. And the four also do not agree on how to position themselves before the imminent discussion in Congress of an eventual agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In this context, the appointment of a member of the Supreme Court has already caused certain movements in Together for Change, and the first reaction was to communicate to the government – through a parliamentary backchannel – that the political discussion cannot be limited to Highton de Nolasco’s successor.
The different party aliquots that make up Together for Change made a list of the key positions in the Justice that should be filled, and they let it transpire in Balcarce 50 that the political negotiation must lead to a distribution “Comprehensive and balanced.”
With the political argument of agreeing on the appointment of the successor to Highton de Nolasco, A list of positions to be negotiated was opened that includes important sources of the Judicial Power. That list – tentative until last night – contains the following institutions:
1. Supreme Court
2. Cassation Chamber
3. Buenos Aires Federal Chamber
4. Federal judges of first instance in the Federal Capital
5. Federal prosecutors of first instance in the Federal Capital
6. Attorney General
7. National Defender