May 25, 2013
Gov't questions interim judges appointment system
Justice Minister Julio Alak communicated that the national government will ask the Supreme Court to review the Magistrates Council’s judge appointment system and declare null the current method used to designate interim judges, during a televised appearance.
“We’ve done several demands and showed our standing on this to the Supreme Court so they stop this irregular rotating appointment method, specially when it affects institutional cases”, Alak stated during the press address.
The comments came as the government sets things to approach what it has unfortunately called “the 7-D day” as it intends to compare the day when the Media law comes into full implementation including article 161 that forces media groups to get rid of extra licenses and downsize, to a military invasion. Not for nothing the government had called it “the mother of all battles.”
That day, according to a Supreme Court ruling, a Broadcast Media Act passed by Congress three years ago will enter full implementation mode, as an injunction filed by Grupo Clarín against an anti-trust clause will no longer be effective.
Alak’s statements took place as City Court number 1, which must rule on Clarín's injunction on "unconstitutional grounds" regarding article 161, has not yet a confirmed new Judge in post.
Being the post vacant, the National Appeals Court had first appointed Judge Raúl Tettamanti as interim judge to rule on Clarín’s claim despite the fact he had retired. But Tettamanti resigned days after as he felt to be victim of "moral violence" and the attacks of Minister Alak, who accused the magistrate of being aligned with Clarín's interests.
Thus, the National Appeals Court drew lots again and designated Judge Roberto Raúl Torti, a pick that also disatisfied the national government which has already transmitted its intention of appealing the decision as Torti is one of the many judges appointed during the last military dictatorship.
Tettamanti was accused by many government officials of being a judge hand-pointed by Clarín Media group with the backing of the opposition spectrum that doesn’t see a government’s clear intention of setting a more democratic media system but a maneuver that only seeks to chop into pieces anti-government media conglomerates in order to consolidate their own.
Any new judges must be designated by the Magistrates Council but the process has been stagnant due to differences between Kirchnerism and the opposition as both parties accuse each other of being lobbying to appoint a favorable judge.