In one of his final executive acts as president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón has chosen his nominees to fill the two vacancies in Mexico’s Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN), which will open on November 30th, the president’s last day in office before ceding his post to President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto.
In a news conference Mr. Calderón called for the occasion, he announced the retirement of Justices Sergio Salvador Aguirre Anguiano and Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia, after both served terms of 17 years. SCJN President Juan Silva Meza had officially informed the president the day before Calderon’s press conference of the justices’ imminent departure. Calderón Aguirre Anguiano and Ortiz Mayagoitia for contributing to important transformations in the nation’s legal system during their tenure.
To replace Justice Aguirre Anguiano, Calderón has sent to the Senate the names of Alberto Gelacio Pérez, Pablo Vicente Monroy, Andrea Zambrana Castañeda. Gelacio Pérez, who holds a doctorate in law from UNAM, has been a professor of postgraduate studies at that university among several others. He has worked in the federal justice system for 25 years, holding positions of First District Judge (Juez Primero de Distrito) in the state of Yucatán, Fifth Judge of District for Criminal Matters (Juez Quinto de Distrito en Materia Penal), among others. He is currently a magistrate in the Seventh Collegial Court for Administrative Matters (Séptimo Tribunal Colegiado en Materia Administrativa) in Mexico City. Monroy is a law professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM), and was a litigating attorney for 10 years. He also has 27 years of experience in the federal judicial system, serving as a district judge in Veracruz as well as in the Federal District. He is currently a magistrate in the Unitary Court of the 14th Circuit (Tribunal Unitario del Décimo Cuarto Circuito) in the state of Yucatán. For her part, Zambrana Castañeda has a law degree from UNAM and is a doctoral candidate in law at the Pan-American University (Universidad Panamericana). She has 20 years of experience working in the federal justice system, as a clerk in the Mexican Supreme Court as well as magistrate of the First Collegial Court of the Second Circuit for Administrative Matters (Primer Tribunal Colegiado en Materia Administrativa del Segundo Circuito). She is currently a circuit court judge in the Federal District.
President Calderón has recommended Manuel Baraibar Constantino, Ema Meza Fonseca and Rosa María Temblador Vidrio to replace Justice Ortiz Maygoitia. Baraibar Constantino has been a law professor at UNAM as well as the Judicial Specialization Institute (Instituto de Especialización Judicial). He has more than 30 years of experience in the federal judiciary, holding positions as actuary, several legal clerk positions including in the Supreme Court, district court judge, unitary circuit court judge, as well as magistrate in seven collegial circuit courts, a position he currently holds. Judge Meza Fonseca holds a law degree from UNAM and is a professor in criminal law at the Institute of Superior Studies of Criminal Law (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Derecho Penal). As with the rest of the candidates, she has a long history working in the federal judiciary, dating back more than 30 years. She has acted as a law clerk in Mexico’s Supreme Court, a district court judge in three locations, a magistrate in two unitary collegiate courts and in four circuit collegial courts. She is currently a judge in the 9th Collegial Court of the First Circuit for Criminal Matters (Tribunal Colegiado en Materia Penal del Primer Circuito). Rosa María Temblador Vidrio received her law degree from the University of Guadalajara, and is a constitutional law professor at the Ibero-American University (Universidad Iberoamericana). She also has experience in the federal judiciary dating back more than 30 years, working as a clerk in the Supreme Court, a district court judge in Puebla, and a magistrate in several criminal and civil collegial courts. She currently sits on a civil collegial court in San Andrés Cholula, Puebla.
The Mexican Senate accepted Mr. Calderón’s nominations, and has turned their documentation over to the legislative body’s justice commission (Comisión de Justicia), whose job it is to verify that the nominees comply with the requirements detailed in article 95 of the Mexican constitution. The candidates will later be asked to appear before the commission to answer questions. Once their eligibility has been established, their candidacy will be turned over to the floor of the Senate, which will hear from each candidate in sessions not to exceed 20 minutes. A floor vote for each group of nominees will follow, in which the winning candidates must receive a majority of the votes. If a majority of votes for a single candidate is not reached after two voting sessions, the list is considered rejected, and will be returned to the president, who must submit a new list of three candidates. If the Senate again fails to cast a majority vote for a single candidate, it falls in the president’s hands to appoint the individual to fill the vacancy.
“Ternas de Calderón para SCJN.” El Universal Oct. 11, 2012.
Article 96. Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Accessed Oct. 12, 2012.