Despite the fact that he has not complied with the sending of the specifications for 7 months to designate the replacement of Elena Highton de Nolasco, as provided for in a 2003 decree that bears his own signature, Alberto Fernández seeks to give impetus to a project to expand the composition of the Supreme Court of Justice to 25 members, in the midst of the dispute that, pushed by hard Kirchnerism, the Government wages with Justice.
Beyond the fate of this project that shakes the ruling party, in the Government they attribute the delays to the name to replace Highton de Nolasco to the difficulties in being able to advance in the search for consensus. The term established by decree 222/2003 expired on December 1 last, exactly 30 days after the resignation will be formalized.
“We do not agree among ourselves, much less can we go out and seek consensus in the opposition“, Crudely admitted, a member of Fernández’s extremely trusted Cabinet, confirming that “it is not in the plans” to send a name. It is logical if one takes into account that he needs two thirds of the votes in the Senate to get its approval and today the ruling party barely gets a majority -on non-sensitive issues- to meet.
“Work is being done so that the proposal arises from the consensus that is achieved among the actors involved,” replied the chief of staff, Juan Manzur, when asked about the Senate’s management report, to the surprise of several protagonists: , simply because the Casa Rosada is not negotiating.
The four judges of the Supreme Court Juan Carlos Maqueda, Horacio Rosatti, Carlos Rosenkrantz and Ricardo Lorenzetti.
In the middle of the war, after the Legislative elections, there was not much room for negotiation. With Cristina openly questioning her management, Fernández did not move forward with her partner. The only thing that there was agreement on was a point on which there was not even a debate: they agree that the designated person should be a woman. But the exchange of names was pending.
Thus, with the background of Daniel Rafecas’ statement, Alberto F.’s candidate as Attorney General of the Nation who was blocked by the K in the Senate, remained pending.
Elena Highton in an act of the UBA last year before resigning from the Court. Photo Juano Tesone.
The unusual thing is that Fernández breaches a rule that he signed, as chief of staff, together with Néstor Kirchner and the current Secretary of Strategic Affairs, Gustavo Beliz. “Once a vacancy occurs in the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, within a maximum period of 30 days, the name and curricular background of the person or persons who are under consideration for the vacancy will be published,” says the text.
Now, in the Government, they use the project to reform the Supreme Court as an excuse to continue delaying definitions, with the expectation that the need to fill more vacancies could generate an incentive for sectors of the opposition to validate controversial names.
However, within the Government itself there are voices that also relativize the impetus that Fernández will give to the expansion project. “It is to mark the field for the Court and tell it ‘we also play,'” summarizes an official when evaluating the probability that the move becomes law.
The confrontation with the High Court has as special seasoning the versions that the ruling party allows to transcend regarding an imminent ruling favorable to the City of Buenos Aires in the bid for the co-participation funds that Fernández took from him in September 2020 for understanding that, during the administration of Mauricio Macri, there was an excess in the estimated figure for the transfer of the Federal Police. In this context, from the shadows, as Clarín revealed, President drew a scrum with the governors to try to condition the magistrates.
The leaders, mostly from the PJ but also some loyal K allies such as Gerardo Zamora, from Santiago, raised their voices before the possibility that a decision by the Court that benefits the City could be transformed into a reduction in the funds that the Nation sends to the rest of the provinces. Thus, they made their own a project that sectors of Kirchnerism have been agitating for since the government of the Frente de Todos began, but which only recently found an echo in the Casa Rosada in recent months.
The historical position of Kirchnerism regarding the expansion of the High Court to understand what the Executive is proposing by inciting this reform is a warning. It is only enough to remember that the current composition responds to a project promoted in 2006 by the then senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, expressly converted into law, which contemplated a gradual reduction from 9 to 5 members.
The vice president, at that time, had the support of sectors of the opposition that, with the purification of the Menem court and its “automatic majority”, sought to empower the members of the Court.
Cristina’s defense of her project was forceful and she took refuge in the institutional defense of the division of powers: “We are facing a fact that if I had to add an adjective to it, it would have to be unpublished, because in reality, it is the first time in the entire history of the Argentine Republic that someone, being able to appoint two members of the Court without modifying a single comma of the current legal system, renounces it and resumes the path of the five members”, he highlighted, referring to the decision of Néstor Kirchner, in the Senate session of November 22, 2006. Other times.