Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 3, 2023

First female president of Mexico is chosen by the Supreme Court

First female president of Mexico is chosen by the Supreme Court

For the first time ever, Mexico's Supreme Court chose a woman to preside over the country's highest legal body.

Monday saw a six-to-five vote that resulted in Justice Norma Lucia Pina being sworn in as the court's president for a four-year term. She has pledged to maintain the court's independence.

By a vote of 6-to-5 on Monday, the court chose Norma Pina, elevating a person who has had disagreements with the president of Mexico.

Mexico’s Supreme Court elects first female president
Mexico’s Supreme Court elects first female president

“Judicial independence is indispensable in resolving conflicts between the branches of government,” Pina said on Monday. “My main proposal is to work to build majorities, leaving aside my personal vision.”

With Pina's election, the court may clash more with the left-leaning government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, with whom Pina has had disagreements in the past over matters like energy policy.

The relationship between Lopez Obrador and the supreme court of the country is already tense. Since the Supreme Court struck down several of his measures, the president has been open in his criticism of the court.

For instance, when the court overturned a portion of Lopez Obrador's "prison, no bail" policy in November, which mandated mandatory pre-trial custody for defendants accused of crimes including tax fraud, he said the court was siding with white-collar criminals. He criticized the justices, saying, "What incredible shamelessness."

Every four years, Mexico's Supreme Court organizes presidential elections. Lopez Obrador backed Yasmin Esquivel for justice as outgoing Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar's tenure was slated to expire on December 31 in an effort to install a more favorable figure to preside over the Supreme Court.

However, a December news article claimed that Esquivel had plagiarized her college thesis, casting doubt on her candidacy. Esquivel believes that the earlier thesis plagiarized her work, despite the fact that her dissertation, which she presented in 1987, was reportedly similar to one submitted a year earlier.

The public university where Esquivel obtained a bachelor’s degree is still investigating the case.

Lopez Obrador attacked the allegations against Esquivel as politically motivated. He said on Monday that the country’s judicial system had been “eclipsed by money, by economic power”.

Members of the opposition meanwhile praised Pina's appointment, with conservative MPs like Kenia López Rabadán supporting it.

More than ever, the Court must demonstrate independence, impartiality, objectivity, and professionalism in the face of a president who disobeys the Constitution, according to López Rabadán's tweet.

The election of Pina has been praised by certain Lopez Obrador-connected officials as well.

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