The Supreme Court of Argentina, the highest court in the South American country, changed hands. Judge Horacio Rosatti will be the new president starting next week and for at least three years, replacing Carlos Rosenkrantz. The selection process exposed the divisions that exist among the five members of the court. Rosatti got three votes: her predecessor’s, another judge’s, and her own. The other two magistrates expressed their disagreement, absenting themselves from the vote.
Argentina is going through turbulent political times. In addition to the struggles that divide the Peronist coalition in the government, resolved last week with changes in the Cabinet of Alberto Fernández, there are also internal differences in the Supreme Court. Rosatti, the new president, and Rosenkrantz, the outgoing, were replaced by President Mauricio Macri in 2016. Two years later, in a session called to discuss general issues, an unexpected agreement between the newcomers allowed the judge’s dismissal Ricardo Lorenzetti from the presidency.
Lorenzetti had been appointed by Néstor Kirchner and had been in the position for nearly 12 years, where he remained thanks to extensive political management and contacts with the rest of the powers. The new management, in the hands of newcomer Rosenkrantz, was read as a triumph for Macri. The war, however, would not end there. Lorenzetti stood beside Rosatti, the other newcomer, and Juan Carlos Maqueda, and together they established that any court decision must be collegiate, by at least three votes. So they liquidated all the power of the new president.
The election this Thursday was, precisely, collegiate. Lorenzetti tried to return to office, from which he was dismissed, but, faced with the failure, preferred to absent himself from the vote. He was joined by Judge Elena Highton de Nolasco, who at 78 remains in her post on a special license and who owes a lot to Lorenzetti. The court’s soap opera is flavored with the profile of the new president. Rossati comes from politics: from a Peronist background, he was Minister of Justice under Néstor Kirchner. He left office a year later, at odds with prices set in a prison construction contract. Macri saw in him a rebellious Kirchnerista and proposed him to the Court, but he soon regretted it. in your book Primer Tiempo, the former president said that Rosatti ended up voting against the reforms promoted by his government. Today he is not liked by any of the groups.
The formation of the Court is a matter of extreme sensitivity in Argentina, because there, sooner or later, cases of political corruption end. That’s why politicians pay attention to internal divisions. The list to be assumed in this new presidency has at least a dozen investigations that are particularly delicate, because they involve Vice President Cristina Kirchner or part of her surroundings. Judges must now decide on 17 appeals in three cases that the former president considers the result of harassment.
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