By MARK LORENZANA
The Mexican Bar Association (BMA) has asked Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to stop threatening judges who rule against his government plans.
Through a public statement signed by its president, Claudia de Buen, the BMA rejected the latest threat launched by López Obrador against Judge Francisco Javier Rebolledo Peña, who stopped the implementation of the new curriculum for basic-education students by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP).
At his daily morning press conference on Friday, Oct.7, AMLO said that he will launch an investigation against Javier Rebolledo.
“We are going to investigate, and we are going to see who the judge was, and what his reason was (for the decision),” López Obrador said. “We have never disobeyed a court order. But the decision left a trace of … a defense of particular interests, and reactionary conservative thought everywhere.”
AMLO likewise accused Rebolledo — without offering proof — of favoring conservatism and neoliberalism.
Threatening judges and magistrates for their resolutions, said the BMA in its statement, goes against the government’s separation of powers, and attacks one of the fundamental tasks of the judiciary, which is to review the legality and constitutionality of the acts of the other government branches.
“The Mexican Bar Association (BMA), as guardian of the rule of law in Mexico, urges the President of the Republic to cease attacks against members of the Judicial Power, judges, magistrates and ministers, as well as refrain from making moves to limit their exercise of public power to what is ordered by the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States,” the statement read.
“The power of the President is not unlimited; it is temporary and constitutionally limited. One of the limits is that his acts not only can be, must be, reviewed in terms of their legality and constitutionality by another power: the Judiciary. On the contrary, there is no counter step to actions by the Executive.”
On her Twitter account, De Buen emphasized that judicial independence is necessary to guarantee the rule of law.
“We respectfully ask the head of the Federal Executive, again, to respect the work of the judges and refrain from intimidating them. The independence of the Judiciary is not a whim. It is a necessary piece of Mexican federalism, which protects the rule of law,“ she wrote.
On Aug. 1, the New York City Bar Association released a statement condemning López Obrador for threatening Mexican judges who rule against him. The statement said AMLO had violated international law and the legal standards for judicial independence as outlined by the Mexican Constitution, the American Convention on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.