Supreme judges self-erected as monarchs
The magistrates of the highest court will meet this Thursday and have pending decision-making on the candidacy of Sergio Unac in San Juan, the date of the elections in Tucumán, and the indefinite re-election in Formosa. Emboldened by the Court’s rulings, the opposition insists on judicializing the policy, and a precautionary request was presented objecting to the re-election of mayors in the Province of Buenos Aires.
The gaze is set on Thursday, June 1. For that day the agreement of the Supreme Court of Justice is summoned and resolutions could come out on the presence of Sergio Uñac at the head of the formula for the governorship of San Juan, the question of indefinite re-elections in the Constitution of Formosa and the date of the elections in Tucumán. Around the fourth floor of the Courts, there are versions of all kinds. On the one hand, some say that the new automatic majority, made up of Horacio Rosatti, Carlos Rosenkrantz, and Juan Carlos Maqueda, does not want to further deepen the confrontation with the governors and therefore would desist from intervening in provincial disputes. In the same perspective are those who think that a truce with the national government is in sight, especially since the highest court needs funds to grant salary increases in Justice. And on the other side, some believe that the Supreme Court will maintain the level of confrontation of the last few months and that they will once again climb a new step in meddling in political issues. They are encouraged by Together for Change and a system of pressures that governs the Palace of Courts. To further complicate things, this Monday the presentation of a little-known leader of the even less-known PAIS party was announced, asking that the Court intervene in the Province of Buenos Aires and prohibit the re-election of mayors. The text calls for a precautionary measure that would suspend the primary elections in Buenos Aires territory. “If the Court intervened in Santiago del Estero, San Juan, Tucumán, why are we going to waste time presenting ourselves before the Buenos Aires judges? We are going directly to the Court,” they explained to Página/ 12the writers of the letter. It is a reasonable statement: the Supreme Courts set themselves up as monarchs, intervening in provincial and political issues, in tune with the opposition.
The hottest cases
The Court may issue a resolution on Thursday on the San Juan case, although in a certain way, it is the least urgent because the elections would only be held in July.
Unac is the candidate for governor based on the fact that the text of the local Constitution allows two re-elections. Uñac won the governorship in 2015, renewed in 2019, and wants to renew in 2023. What they question is that before 2015 he was lieutenant governor, that is, he was part of the formula. However, the San Juan constitutional text is not explicit regarding the lieutenant governors, nor is there a prohibition like the one that does apply in other provinces.
The most serious thing is that, when the elections were suspended, the automatic majority maintained that the republican system is not verified when there is perpetuation and that it requires, yes or yes, periodicity. These concepts do not appear anywhere and it is public and notorious that in consolidated democracies such as Germany, Spain, and Sweden, numerous prime ministers governed for more than a decade and sometimes more than two decades. The same happens with the governors of a large part of the North American states.
Formosa is a hot potato
Both in the case of San Juan and Tucumán, the constitutions were not specific, although they did not prohibit the candidacy of Uñac or Juan Manzur. But Formosa is exhaustive: the Constitution allows indefinite re-election, as happens in Catamarca and Santa Cruz. The truth is that Gildo Insfrán has been governor since 1995 and in his previous re-election, he garnered no less than 70.54 percent of the votes.
Even so, two aspects of Together for Change appeared before the Court and referred to those two concepts, perpetuation, and periodicity suggested by the automatic majority, something equivalent to maintaining that what is republican inevitably implies alternation in power. What they are asking for, neither more nor less, is that the Constitution voted by the Formoseños be declared unconstitutional.
In a detailed column published by Página/12, the constitutionalist Raúl Gustavo Ferreyra explained that indefinite re-elections “are not contrary to Law” -even though he defined himself as not a supporter of them-. Moreover, Ferreyra would suggest ten-year limitations for Court judges and legislators. The latter has no re-election limitation and the supreme ones remain in their posts, at least, until they are 75 years old. But what is clear is that to prevent indefinite re-elections in the provinces there should be a reform of the national Constitution, not an arbitrary interpretation of the supreme.
It is not clear if there will be a resolution from the Court on Formosa this Thursday. Página/12 has already pointed out the pressures of Alberto Garay, who represents Tucumán before the highest court and is also the president of the Montevideo Street Bar Association, which brings together the most conservative lawyers and the largest law firms in the country. In recent years, the offensive of these sectors against Insfrán and in the media aligned with the machismo has been very notorious. This is a leader who made possible a long chain of sweeping victories for Peronism in Formosa and who, moreover, has now been appointed by the PJ congress as the leader who will sign the alliances for the next elections.
And now the mayors
During the day of this Monday, a new request for intervention of the Court was presented, this time about the mayors of the Province of Buenos Aires. The text has the signature of Oscar Héctor Alva, head of the party founded by José Octavio Bordón, PAIS, and who today appears with ties to Juan Manuel Urtubey. The writing is sponsored by the well-known constitutionalist Andrés Gil Domínguez.
Specifically, the Court is asked to prohibit the re-election of the mayors who were elected in 2019 and who enjoy a transitory clause established by Article 4 of Law 15,315 that allows the one started in 2019 to be considered as the first term.
Once again it is proposed that the Supreme Court get involved in provincial issues and, in this case, without having gone through the Buenos Aires electoral judge or the Electoral Chamber, or the Supreme Court of the province. Those who are close to the proposal told this newspaper: “If the Court got into Santiago del Estero, San Juan, Tucumán, why not go directly to the Court?”
The picture is clear. The irruption of the supreme in political issues opens the door to an infinite number of proposals that grant them, a little more or a little less, monarchical powers.
they are not competent
From the Attorney General’s side, Laura Monti had to speak again this Monday, this time on the questioning of the June 11 date set for the Tucumán elections. Already originally, the Attorney General had told the Supreme Court that it is not within their competence to get involved in provincial constitutional issues and now ruled the same thing in just three lines: “The issues raised here are analogous to those examined previously, so it will be necessary to refer to the foundations and conclusions of those opinions”. In other words, the Court was not competent regarding the formula for the Tucuman governorship and it is even less so now regarding the date of the elections.
As is known, the automatic majority – Rosatti, Rosenkranz, Maqueda – ignored the opinion of the Attorney General, suspended the elections and, for that reason, Manzur withdrew his candidacy for lieutenant governor. On this basis, the highest court stated that the issue had become abstract and the Tucuman Executive set the elections for June 11. It doesn’t look like the Court is going to intervene again, but you never know.”Pandora’s Box was opened, anything can happen,” they acknowledge in Courts.