The unanimous decision of the Argentine Supreme Court to paralyze the transfer of three federal judges related to a case involving the vice president, Cristina Fernández.
Represents a setback for the Government of Alberto Fernández, promoter of both this initiative and a disturbing legal project that sectors of Argentine society warn could put the independence of the judiciary at risk.
Arguing a hypothetical irregularity committed during the previous Administration, presided over by the conservative Mauricio Macri Peronist Government, its parliamentary bench and the Council of the Magistracy controlled by Kirchnerism had tried to remove three federal judges from their posts.
But there is the circumstance that each of those three magistrates has been or is in charge of a cause that directly affects the vice president, Cristina Fernández is a scandal about kickbacks known as the notebooks case.
The judges affected are the one who approved the investigation of the case, the one who issued a conviction against Amado Boudou – vice president of Argentina during part of Fernández’s presidential term (2007-2015) and the magistrate who has yet to finish judging the scandal .
In the Argentine judiciary, as in any democracy, more conservative and more progressive branches of magistrates coexist, but significantly the Supreme Court of the South American country has been unanimous on this occasion in adopting its resolution to stop the Government.
The judges have understood that the events have “an unusual institutional gravity.” The separation of powers is fundamental in the democratic institutional framework, and although the president, Alberto Fernández, assures that what it is about is to restore “the lost order”.
it is difficult not to interpret this movement as an interference in the judicial work and an attempt, rather abrupt, to avoid that its vice president has to give explanations before the courts for facts duly investigated as any other citizen would have to do.
But this is not the only worrying advance by the Peronist Executive on the judiciary. In one of the countries where the social and economic effects of covid-19 are being more serious and with the longest confinement in the world suffered by the province of Buenos Aires.
The Government is putting all its energy into a reform that affects judges and secret services. A reform probably necessary, but that should be the result of a great national political agreement on pain of casting an important shadow over the Argentine institutional building.