Supreme courtTuesday, March 18, 2014
Justice Enrique Petracchi could take leave
Supreme Court Justice Enrique Petracchi is reportedly preparing to announce he is going on medical leave.
The 78-year-old justice has already told colleagues and friends of his plans, news portal Infobae reported. Court sources did not deny the information.
Petracchi made the announcement before his Supreme Court colleagues and the top tribunal’s high-ranking secretaries, telling them that he was suffering from a pancreas infection that could lead him to be removed from his normal functions.
Last week, Petracchi was reported to have already spoken about his illness with close friends.
Court sources also confirmed to the Herald that Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti is scheduled to return to Buenos Aires today after a trip abroad. He will be leading a meeting with his Supreme Court colleagues to discuss the issue tomorrow.
His leave means the Supreme Court will be left with an even number, complicating several future votes, and leaving a question mark over how three-to-three votes will be settled. In such a case, a random judge would be picked from a federal chamber to break the tie.
The government intends to reform the institution to have five justices. The Supreme Court has seven members.
If there are vacancies, none of the members have to be replaced unless less than five judges remain in the Supreme Court.
Petracchi is one of the two justices on the Supreme Court older than 75, with its oldest member, Carlos Fayt having turned 96 last month.
Petracchi first entered the Supreme Court when late former president Raúl Alfonsín nominated him on December 1983, with the return of democracy. Since then he has gained wide esteem from different political and social sectors.
The Supreme Court has seven members: Petracchi, Lorenzentti, Fayt, Elena Highton de Nolasco, Raúl Zaffaroni, Carmen Argibay and Juan Carlos Maqueda.