Pro-government members of the Impeachment Commission yesterday won a 16-15 vote to start the impeachment of the Supreme Court justices. Therefore, an investigation into the 14 complaints filed against the highest court of the country will begin, and it could lead to the dismissal of the judges.
“The fourteen requests to impeach the Supreme Court Justices include over sixty facts that point to misconduct according to the Constitution – if this and other offenses were to be proved, they would be very serious institutional violations,” said Carolina Gaillard, the president of the Impeachment Commission, reading a statement to her colleagues.
Opposition members from Juntos por el Cambio requested the lawsuits be declared inadmissible. “The court cannot be judged for the content of its sentences,” said Congressman Mario Negri. “They’re declaring war against the constitution.”
This was the last stage of the process within the Impeachment Commission, and now summary reports will be initiated to produce the evidence for impeachment within the Lower House. The lawsuits were presented to Congress members on January 26, and, over the course of two weeks, the deputies of the committee met to analyze the petitions against the four Supreme Court justices, Horacio Rosatti, Carlos Rosenkrantz, Juan Carlos Maqueda and Ricardo Lorenzetti.
Although all four Supreme Court justices are accused of misconduct, there are other accusations related to their rulings and administrative roles within the Court.
In the impeachment proceedings, the four justices are accused of violating Article 1 of the National Constitution, meant to protect federalism in Argentina. The charge relates to their December ruling ordering the government to increase the share of federal tax revenues destined to the City of Buenos Aires, a ruling that benefitted the administration of opposition figurehead and likely presidential candidate, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.
On December 29, a series of chats were leaked allegedly showing conversations between Buenos Aires Security Minister D’Alessandro and public figures, including Silvio Robles, Justice Rosatti’s spokesperson. The messages allegedly appeared to indicate negotiations to define the Court’s tax share ruling and members of the Council of Magistrates. D’Alessandro, who requested a three-month leave of absence from his position due to the scandal, claimed that the chats are fake.
Frente de Todos members believe these chats serve as proof of inappropriate alliances between the Buenos Aires government and the Supreme Court justices.
Horacio Rosatti and fellow Justice Carlos Rosenkrantz were appointed to the Supreme Court by Mauricio Macri in 2016, a designation controversially made by presidential decree, because the designation must be made by Congress with a special majority, which was only done six months after the appointment was made.
Negligence in dictatorship trials
The tax share ruling and the chat leaks are not the only grounds for the impeachment request. Human rights advocates also spoke before the commission, defending the request to trythe justices for failing to fulfil their duty to seek justice for human rights violations during the last dictatorship.
Justices Rosenkratz and Rosatti are accused of granting early release to a dictatorship torturer, Luis Muiña, based on a law from 1994 that was revoked in 2001. Back then, the ruling – known as “2×1” for its implications in the enforcement of sentences – sparked a massive protest against the Supreme Court justices, who reversed their decision.
Both justices are also indicted for having paralyzed the Inter-Powers Commission, created in 2008 to track the crimes against humanity trials of the dictatorship, making sure they weren’t halted. The commission was composed of the public prosecutor’s and defense ministries, the Council of Magistrates, human rights organizations, and executive power members, and was summoned by the court. But the justices stopped assembling the commission after the 2×1 controversy, only to summon it back in 2020, when the Frente de Todos officials and former Justice Minister Marcela Losardo considered it to be “opportunistic” and refused to attend.