A respite for Justice
After several attacks in the judicial sphere, Argentines were recently surprised for a decision that had a full impact on the Justice and made recover, at least a large part of society, a certain level of hope and expectation for the future. The ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, which orders the Council of the Magistracy of the Nation to modify its composition and at the same time urges Congress to enact a new law, is seen as an important first step towards a more Justice independent, efficient and agile.
The ruling establishes what was known for a long time: in the current Nation’s Magistracy Council There is no balance between the constituencies represented and it is the political constituency –which corresponds to representatives of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the Executive Power–, which holds a majority that allows it to have a quorum and a simple majority. Because in 2006, then-senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner led a reform that aimed to politicize a process that should be technical. From that moment on, the Council went from 20 to 13 members and in its new conformation it lost the essence of its conception. This circumstance subjected the Council to the ups and downs of party politics and markedly limited its independence.
In comparative terms, the experience of the City of Buenos Aires is virtuous, where the local Council has an equivalent representation in the three estates (Legislature, Magistrates and Lawyers). And at the same time, in the integration of each of the five commissions, there is a similar participation of each of these estates (three members, one per estate).
The creation of the National Magistracy Council is introduced in the constitutional reform 1994. In addition to being the body in charge of the administration of the Judicial Power of the Nation, the Council aims to reduce the level of discretion in the appointment and removal of judges, who previously depended solely on the president and the Senate. By dividing these processes into stages, in which the different powers of the State now intervene, the judge has the guarantee of irremovability and merit. That is, you do not owe the charge to anyone. Hence the importance of balance in the formation of the Council. A Council that, in addition to having 20 members again and a greater balance in their representation, will be presided over by the President of the Supreme Court.
How do these modifications specifically affect the public? The Council of the Magistracy of the Nation is the one that calls the competitions to fill the vacancies of magistrates of all instances –with the exception of the Supreme Court–, including, for example, federal judges, who are those who intervene in corruption and organized crime cases, among others.
Throughout these last two years, we Argentines have witnessed judicial decisions that have aroused the indignation of a good part of the citizenry. The Supreme Court ruling puts us back on the right track. In the immediate term, the entities that must elect their representatives to the Council have to fulfill an arduous task. Then, Congress will have to work to pass a new law that adapts to the times. We Argentines want independence of powers and a Justice that responds solely and exclusively to the interests of the people.
1st Vice President of the Council of the Magistracy of CABA and sec. gral. of Fofecma (Federal Forum of Judicial Councils and Prosecution Juries)