Supreme Court Rules Plan B Electoral Reform Invalid
By KELIN DILLON
On Monday, May 8, Mexico’s Supreme Court Justice of the Nation (SCJN) deliberated on the constitutionality of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) ‘Plan B’ electoral reform, ultimately ruling the first half of the initiative – which made changes to Mexico’s General Law of Social Communication and the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities – invalid due to violations of the legislative process.
After hours of discussion, the SCJN ministers voted nine in favor, two against Minister Alberto Pérez Dayán’s proposal of the reform’s invalidity.
Ministers Alberto Pérez Dayán, Juan Luis Gonzalez Alcantara, Margarita Ríos Farjat, Luis María Aguilar, Arturo Zaldívar, Javier Laynez, Alfredo Gutiérrez, Jorge Pardo and SCJN President Norma Piña voted in favor, while Ministers Loretta Ortiz y Yasmín Esquivel voted against the proposal.
According to Pérez Dayán’s draft proposal to the court, the expedited passage of Plan B’s reforms to Mexico’s General Law of Social Communication and the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities – just hours after its initial presentation to congress – breached the legislative process of the Chamber of Deputies as established by the Mexican Constitution’s articles 71 and 72, preventing legislators from conducting due diligence on the reforms and providing insufficient time to debate, violating the democratic process of Plan B’s passage.
“In effect, there is a violation of the democratic principle because the urgent processing of the initiative in question forced congress to stop observing the ordinary procedure that corresponded to it,” read Pérez Dayán’s 188-page proposal on the subject.
“In other words, the legislators failed to carry out the following acts of the ordinary legislative procedure as established in the Regulations of the Chamber of Deputies,” continued the minister’s draft.
AMLO’s Legal Department of the Federal Executive (CJEF) pushed back against the SCJN ahead of the vote, releasing a statement claiming that the court’s invalidation Plan B with would supplant the will of Mexican Congress with the will of the court and questioning Pérez Dayán’s impartiality.
Saying SCJN are elected to the court “without popular legitimacy”, the CJEF suggested that the SCJN ruling on Plan B’s constitutionality “violates the principle of division of powers and the balance that must exist between the judicial and legislative branches.”
Following the CJEF’s statement, the SCJN unanimously decided that Pérez Dayán had no impartiality impediment on the plenary session and continued its debate on Plan B’s constitutionality as scheduled before ultimately voting it invalid.
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