The national government will present a project so that the Council of the Magistracy has 17 members

The National Magistracy Council (Maximiliano Luna)

The national government will send a bill to Congress next week to reform the current integration of the National Magistracy Council, the body that investigates and selects national and federal judges. The initiative wants to bring its current 13 members to 17, with more lawyers, magistrates and representatives from the academic sector.

The project was confirmed to Infobae by two officials of the Executive Power. It is expected to be presented the first days of next week. It was prepared under the supervision of the Secretary of Legal and Technical of the Nation, Vilma Ibarra, the Minister and Vice Minister of Justice, Martín Soria and Juan Martín Mena, the government representative on the Council, Geronimo Ustarroz, and the Chief Adviser to the Presidency, Juan Manuel Olmos. These are officials who answer to the president Alberto Fernandez and the vice president Cristina Kirchner, who gave the endorsement to move forward with the project.

The sole impulse of the initiative is to anticipate a ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that plans to declare the unconstitutionality of the current membership of 13 members for not respecting the balance between the representatives of the political sector and the legal ones, as established the National Constitution. That ruling, according to the sources consulted, could come out on December 16.

The project, one of the officials who worked on its drafting told this medium, is for the Government to take the political initiative on the integration of the Council before the Court’s ruling. So you want your project to be discussed first. “It can even prevent the Court from ruling if there is already a project to balance the sectors”, is excited because the ruling would be against the Council created by Cristina Kirchner. Better a threat of failure than a failure“Summarized the source.

Even the resolution of the highest court can generate interpretations about its scope and provoke a discussion that makes a new integration difficult. It is speculated that the ruling may set a deadline to create a new integration or to make operational the previous integration of the 20-member Council that would bring the president of the Court back to the body, today Horacio Rosatti.

Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner, with the endorsement of the changes to the Council
Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner, with the endorsement of the changes to the Council

What everyone maintains is that it is impossible for this integration of 20 to become operational the day after the resolution. The members of the Council such as judges and lawyers are chosen in elections that should be called. For that sector it is expected that they will be next year when they renew their representatives. Hence the need for a deadline.

The Council of the Magistracy was created with the constitutional reform of 1994. It began to function in 1999 and is in charge of the administration of the Judicial Power of the Nation, of investigating judges who are denounced for poor performance of their functions and of making the public competitions to fill the vacancies of magistrates.

Its first integration was of 20 members and it was presided over by the head of the Supreme Court. In 2006 it was modified based on a project of the then national senator Cristina Kirchner. It went on to have 13 members. But it was objected that of those 13 members seven were from politics (three deputies, three senators and the representative of the Executive Power) and the remaining six were from judges (three), lawyers (two) and a representative from national universities and that that integration did not respect the “balance” that article 114 of the National Constitution establishes for its composition. The Constitution does not establish the number of members it must have, which is set by law.

The Bar Association of the City of Buenos Aires presented an amparo in which it requested its unconstitutionality. This was declared in November 2015 by the Federal Administrative Litigation Chamber. Months later the case reached the Supreme Court. Now he plans to remove the bug.

The Government’s project seeks to balance the estates. The initiative has its members from 13 to 17. It maintains the three deputies and senators – two for the majority block of each chamber and one for the first minority – and the representative of the Executive Power. There are no changes in that. Those who add members are the representatives of the other sectors: four judges, four lawyers and two members of the universities.

Another proposal is that the four lawyers be chosen in elections with a single national registry. Today it is done in separate elections: for the registration of the Federal Capital and for the interior of the country. The initiative does not contemplate that the president of the Supreme Court integrates the Council. Since the creation of the body there has been a tension between the Council and the Court for the management of the funds of the Judicial Power. Box.

The initiative will reach the National Congress, which will renew its authorities next week (REUTERS / Agustín Marcarián)
The initiative will reach the National Congress, which will renew its authorities next week (REUTERS / Agustín Marcarián)

From the Council, two sources who know about the project, agree that it is a fiction, an unreality of the law, to divide the members of the body between the political and non-political sector. It is because the representatives of the judges, lawyers and the universities align themselves with the ruling party or the opposition. It happens today. The ruling party has a block of seven councilors that make up a judge and the representative of the academics. And the opposition has six, including two magistrates and two lawyers. It also happened in the previous integrations. In fact, when judges and lawyers go to elections to join the Council, they have the support of the political parties in their campaigns. And the representatives of politics do not vote together to come from that sector, but respond to their party interests.

With the presentation of the project, the discussion will go to the National Congress, which will renew its membership next week after the legislative elections on November 14. There the numbers between the ruling party and the opposition will shrink. In Deputies the Frente de Todos will have a block of 118 legislators and Together for the Change of 116. In the Senate, the ruling party lost its own quorum and will have 35 senators and Juntos 31. A majority is needed to approve a reform to the integration of the Council simple.

During the two years of Alberto Fernández’s government, the opposition rejected the two judicial initiatives that he proposed: the reform of the federal justice system and the Attorney General’s Office. The Council will open a new focus of discussion and political tension pending a Supreme Court ruling that will force Congress to reach an agreement.


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