Following the ruling of the Supreme Court, the Council of the Judiciary approved an exceptional regulation to elect two more lawyers

The Judicial Council approved this Monday an exceptional regulation to carry out elections where two lawyers are elected to join the new composition of this body, to comply with the ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice Last December. That ruling declared the current integration of 13 members unconstitutional and provided that as long as there is no new law that respects internal balances, the initial organization of 20 representatives will return, headed by the president of the highest court. The challenge is to be able to carry out this reform before April 15 because the Court gave a term of 120 calendar days; for day 121, if the ruling is not complied with, any decision of the Council will be null.

Precisely, in the plenary meeting of the Council that took place this morning, that question remains unresolved. Why? Because the body headed by the academic Diego Molea voted what had already been agreed so that the candidates to represent the lawyers’ class should only be women (something that also served to repeat questions and answers), but did not rule on the proposals of the Public Bar Association of the Federal Capital and the Argentine Federation of Bar Associations (FACA) who questioned the impossibility of carrying out, within those deadlines, this exceptional election. And he delegated to these entities the call for elections and the universe of lawyers who will vote.

“We will have to sit down with the FACA to talk about how we organize ourselves because the elections have to be the same day,” he told Infobae lawyer Jorge Rizzo, referent of the Buenos Aires Public School-, but the issue of the register can also become a complication. It is a difficult issue because in the Federal Capital we have everything regulated until the end of last year, when registered lawyers are able to vote. But the issue of lawyers from the interior has to go through a special procedure to be able to have federal registration and with the pandemic, many of those procedures were delayed.”

Jorge Rizzo, of the Public Bar Association of the Federal Capital
Jorge Rizzo, of the Public Bar Association of the Federal Capital

Today, the Council is made up of a representative of the Executive, six legislators (three deputies and three senators), three judges, an academic and two lawyers. According to the old composition of the Council, two more legislators must be added for the minority, an academic, a judge (who will be a woman, as already resolved by the Association of Magistrates) and two lawyers. The body will be represented by the President of the Supreme Court. Both for the integration of judges and lawyers, the representatives must be chosen in elections. The mandate of those directors who join will be only for a few months because in November the representatives of the body have to be renewed.

The Bar Association of the Federal Capital had initially stated that the deadlines imposed by the Supreme Court were impossible to comply with. The FACA said the same thing. However, last week, the Buenos Aires lawyers brought a proposal: ask the Supreme Court for an extension and instead of rushing elections for the beginning of April, take advantage of the elections already scheduled for the end of that month, where authorities of that institution will be elected, so that those registered vote for the candidates of the Judicial Council. There were no definitions on that proposal today.

The FACA, meanwhile, did not raise possibilities of when the election could take place and did underline its complexities. What he did question by note last week was that the Council had forced to carry out an election between two female applicants: if two more lawyers have to be chosen, to join the two already existing (and they are men), the FACA believed that it should be done with a male and a female candidate, to avoid discrimination and proscriptions.

At today’s meeting -after a four-hour discussion in the Labor commission-, the councilors decided to vote for the women candidates. However, both the representatives of the lawyers Diego Marias and Carlos Matterson they left the opinion of the FACA safe, beyond accompanying the majority. In the same vein, the deputy of the PRO Paul Tonelli.

Graciela Camaño and Diego Molea (Maximilian Luna)
Graciela Camaño and Diego Molea (Maximilian Luna)

It was then that the deputies Graciela Camaño and Vanessa Siley they took the lead again to insist on gender parity. “We do not expect anyone to give us anything. Guys, you started first, that’s why you occupy all the positions, you have created the glass ceiling, the pink zones and all those issues that in the future of this society we have been analyzing and warning many women that it is necessary to build opportunities. This regulation is the result of that work, it is the consolidation in terms of gender of this council and of a society that has been walking for a long time in Argentina in that search. President, beyond the observations that they may have of a legal nature, I tell them that the laws no longer have the same rigidities that we study and must be applied with a gender perspective,” said Camaño.

Siley, for his part, added: “FACA misinterprets articles of the National Constitution and threatens to prosecute the regulation for these issues. Allow me, President, being part of the party that was banned for 18 years, seems outrageous to me.”

When Molea intervened, he stated: “Just as the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation gave FACA a higher entity and the CPA also notifies those entities to organize the election. Then issues such as registration cut, etc, we are not the ones who have to impose, we are going to accompany them to resolve. We are not going to transfer responsibility, we are going to be responding to all the inconveniences that arise on the way to this integration by selection. And I’m not going to talk about gender, it’s an exhausted topic (…) and I’ll tell you the rest here: more women are missing, let’s do everything possible to integrate them and build a better constitutional body such as the Judicial Council . The only thing I do is accompany them, I am a militant of that cause. We need to integrate this Council with more women”.

The Plenary meeting served, once again, for the ruling party criticized the court ruling Supreme. Siley considered it “tricky” and the judge Alberto Lugones insisted: “Today we have a regulation that allows comply with that very strict order that the Court gave us, a strict order that was not so strict to wait 15 years and declare the law unconstitutional and take five years to give a ruling.”

“I do not justify the fire that in 120 days new councilors have to be elected because we finished this and we have to go back to making regulations for the new integration as provided by law. We have no problem complying with the ruling, we only give reasons -he added. What is clear is that every ruling must be reasonable and in 120 days I can state with the approach of a professor of Constitutional Law that the given solution is not reasonable. In the rest I am going to vote as we have agreed on previous days. I’m going to vote for them to be two women lawyers if time permits and Congress does not surprise us with a new law. Only God can give life to what was dead, our Court can also do it, he gave life to one that was dead”.

Meanwhile, the government of Alberto Fernández defines at this time what topics it will send so that they can be treated in extraordinary sessions. Before the Court ruling, knowing how the result of the case was announced, the Government proposed a law so that the Council is made up of 17 members, without the intervention of the president of the Supreme Court.

Three other projects were presented at the Congress: one by Pablo Tonelli, which had already been presented during the Cambiemos government; another of the radical Mario Negri, in tune with the integration of 20 advisers, including the president of the Court; and another of the lawyer and director Diego Marías, which increases the number of directors to 15 but excludes the Executive from representation. Until now, all the issues of reform in areas of Justice proposed by the Government have had the resistance of the opposition.

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After the Court’s ruling, the Council of the Magistracy began to outline its new 20-member body

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