WorldOnly woman on the Supreme Court of Argentina resigns

Only woman on the Supreme Court of Argentina resigns

Judges Elena Highton de Nolasco and Ricardo Lorenzetti, of the Supreme Court of Argentina.JUAN MABROMATA (AFP)

Judge Elena Highton de Nolasco will no longer be a member of the Supreme Court of Argentina as of November 1st. At 78, the only woman on the highest court has resigned a few weeks after the election of the Court’s new president exposed her internal divisions. The appointment of a replacement, which must be approved by the Senate, is considered a complex task, especially given the tensions in the ruling coalition and the judicial investigations involving the vice president, Cristina Kirchner, and part of her surroundings.

“I am pleased to address the President of the Republic to present my resignation from the position of Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, with effect from November 1 of this year”, informed the magistrate in a letter released on Tuesday . She resigns after 17 years in office.

In 2004, Highton de Nolasco became the first woman named judge of the Supreme Court of Argentina in democracy. At the proposal of the then president Néstor Kirchner after the removal of Eduardo Moline O’Connor, his candidacy was approved by the Senate with 51 votes in favor and five against. A year later, she was elected vice president of the court, a position she held uninterruptedly until two weeks ago.

The magistrate had already surpassed the 75 years of age established by the Argentine Constitution as the maximum age for holding office. However, he had special permission to continue and had anticipated that he would continue as long as he had the strength to do so.

The judge did not make public the reasons for her resignation, but the split in the country’s main court appears to have been decisive. On the one hand, she and Ricardo Lorenzetti, former President of the Court during most of the first two Kirchnerist Governments; on the other, the other three members: Horacio Rosatti, Carlos Rosenkrantz and Juan Carlos Maqueda.

On September 23, Rosatti replaced Rosenkrantz as the new president of the Supreme Court, thanks to the votes of his predecessor and Maqueda. To express their disagreement, both Highton de Nolasco and Lorenzetti absented themselves from the vote. Rosatti, the new president, and Rosenkrantz, the one who is leaving, were nominated by former president Mauricio Macri in 2016.

Highton de Nolasco was instrumental in the creation of the Office of Domestic Violence, which ten years ago facilitated access to justice for women victims of violence from their partners, but will also be remembered for having signed some sentences that caused widespread repudiation in Argentine society, such as the one that allowed the reduction of sentences for those convicted of crimes against humanity.

President Alberto Fernández will have to present the name of his replacement, who will need the support of two-thirds of the Senate. The formation of the Court is a matter of extreme sensitivity in Argentina because it is the last resort for the causes of political corruption. Court judges, for example, have nearly twenty appeals in three cases filed against Vice President Cristina Kirchner.

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