Honduran congress to begin selecting new Supreme Court

Jan 23, 2023, 4:42 PM | Updated: Jan 24, 2023, 6:44 am

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduran lawmakers will begin choosing the 15 members of a new Supreme Court this week in a process with implications for the administration of President Xiomara Castro, who promised a sharp break with her predecessor’s “dictatorship.”

If lawmakers from Castro’s Liberty and Refoundation party, LIBRE, give her control of the high court, she will have the same lock on all three branches of government that President Juan Orlando Hernández enjoyed before her.

It was that control that allowed Hernández to seek re-election to a second term despite Honduras’ constitutional ban. He now awaits trial in the United States on drug trafficking charges.

“It’s never healthy for the ruling parties to control all state powers,” said constitutional lawyer and analyst Juan Carlos Barrientos. LIBRE “used to talk about a dictatorship, because in the previous administration he had all of the powers, but now that they are governing they want to be dictators too.”

Castro’s party holds a majority in the congress, but will need to pact with others to select members for the court. Its goal will be to win at least eight seats, a majority on the country’s highest court, said Juan Carlos Aguilar of the nongovernmental organization Association for a More Just Society.

There has even been talk of trying to keep Hernández’s National Party off the court entirely, though that seems unlikely because a super-majority — 86 votes in the 128-seat chamber — are required to confirm a new justice to the court and LIBRE only has 48 of its own, while the National maintains 43.

“If the National Party is left out, it would be dangerous because it would replicate the model the National Party implemented during its time (in power), to have control of all three state powers,” Aguilar said.

“We know that the rule of law has suffered a regression,” he said. At times the court has been used to consolidate political plans rather than reach legal decisions, he said, noting the court’s decision that allowed Hernández to seek re-election in 2017.

With LIBRE’s relatively slim congressional majority, firm control of the court would also give Castro’s administration the option of trying to legislate through decree and legal rulings if they couldn’t pass legislation, Aguilar said.

Control of the court could also potentially give Castro’s administration and members of her husband Manuel Zelaya’s earlier administration some degree of protection from a United Nations anti-corruption mission that is in the works. An impartial judiciary supportive of Castro’s stated anti-corruption mission would also be a key ally for the U.N. backed effort.

Lawmakers will begin the process of gathering votes and selecting court justices Wednesday when a new legislative session begins.

On Monday, a selection commission announced a list of 45 candidates that it had winnowed from a pool of about 170 applicants through a series of tests, background checks and public hearings.

Members of Congress will now choose from those 45.

“We have finalized a transparent labor,” said Julissa Aguilar, a member of the nominating commission. “Now we await Congress to make a selection according to the interests of the people and the country, to choose the most ideal people for the position and move nearer to the international standards for the practice of the judiciary, leaving aside partisan political interests.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters gather in front of police headquarters while marching Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphi...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Chinese Embassy is pictured in Tokyo on Jan. 11, 2023. China announced it was resuming i...
Associated Press

China announces resumption of visas for Japanese

TOKYO (AP) — China announced it was resuming issuing visas for Japanese travelers beginning Sunday, ending its nearly three-week suspension in an apparent protest of Tokyo’s tougher COVID-19 entry requirements for tourists from China. The decision was announced in a statement posted on the Chinese Embassy’s website. China stopped issuing new visas in Japan on […]
1 day ago
FILE - Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi leaves the Conservative Party head office in Westm...
Associated Press

UK leader fires party chairman over tax bill allegations

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired the chairman of his ruling Conservative Party Sunday over a “serious breach” of the ministerial code. Pressure had been building on Nadhim Zahawi amid allegations he settled a multimillion-dollar unpaid tax bill while he was in charge of the country’s Treasury. In a letter to Zahawi, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Turkey issues travel warning to Europe following protests

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey issued a travel warning late Saturday for its citizens living in or planning on going to European countries, citing Islamophobia and anti-Turkish demonstrations. The warning comes after last weekend’s protests in Sweden where an anti-Islam activist burned the Quran and pro-Kurdish groups protested against Turkey. The Turkish foreign ministry urged its […]
1 day ago
Oleksandra Hryhoryna inspects her house which was damaged by shelling last fall in Kalynivske, Ukra...
Associated Press

Russians gone from Ukraine village, fear and hardship remain

KALYNIVSKE, Ukraine (AP) — When night falls in Tatiana Trofimenko’s village in southern Ukraine, she pours sunflower oil that aid groups gave her into a jar and seals it with a wick-fitted lid. A flick of a match, and the make-do candle is lit. “This is our electricity,” Trofimenko, 68, says. It has been over […]
1 day ago
Rescue workers collect remains from the burnt wreckage of a bus accident in Bela, an area of Lasbel...
Associated Press

Passenger bus in Pakistan crashes, catches fire killing 40

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A passenger bus crashed into a pillar and fell off a bridge, catching fire and killing 40 people in southern Pakistan on Sunday, a government official said. The bus was carrying 44 passengers from Quetta in Balochistan province to Karachi in neighboring Sindh province. The accident was near the town of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Honduran congress to begin selecting new Supreme Court