Sunday, May 26, 2024

ARGENTINA | 15-04-2024 15:01

Supreme Court: Government formally nominates Ariel Lijo and Manuel García-Mansilla

More than a month after their identities first hit the headlines, President Javier Milei formally nominates Ariel Lijo and Manuel García-Mansilla for Supreme Court.

President Javier Milei’s government has formally nominated Ariel Lijo and Manuel García-Mansilla to fill the two vacancies on Argentina’s Supreme Court. 

More than a month after reports revealing the identities of the nominees first hit the headlines, the process has finally begun in earnest. Monday’s Official Gazette featured the nominations in print, proposing Lijo and García-Mansilla as new Supreme Court justices.

If successful, they would replace Elena Highton de Nolasco, who stepped down in 2021, and Juan Carlos Maqueda, who will reach retirement age at the end of the year. Both nominees need Senate approval and will face confirmation hearings.

Lijo, who has worked at the Comodoro Py federal courthouse since 2004, is likely to face a more challenging time in the upper house. His appointment has been criticised by several sectors, who question his handling of various corruption cases, notably those that took place during the Kirchner governments.

García-Mansilla, the current dean of the Universidad Austral Law School, is not expected to face a serious challenge to his candidacy. 

“Both nominations will help reinstate the number of ministers in the Supreme Court to five,” the government said. “The changes Argentina needs to return to the principles of Alberdi’s Constitution which made our country great will not be permanent unless we have a Judiciary which defends strictly and honourably the values of life, liberty and prosperity of Argentines.”

The Supreme Court currently has four justices: Maqueda, Ricardo Lorenzetti, Horacio Rosati and Carlos Rosenkrantz. The latter two were both appointed during former president Mauricio Macri’s 2015-2019 government.

Critics have also complained about the lack of a female nominee. To date, the nation’s highest tribunal has only had three female justices: Margarita Argúas (1970-1973); Elena Highton de Nolasco (2004-2021) and Carmen Argibay (2005-2014).

The nation’s highest tribunal has no gender quota, though it does have an age restriction, at least in theory. In 2014, Raül Zaffaroni resigned before he turned 75 and Highton de Nolasco did likewise, but aged 78 years old. Former Supreme Court justice Carlos Fayt entered in 1983 but he did not resign until 2015, a few months before he died at 97 years of age.


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