Mexican president lashes out at Supreme Court chief justice

Feb 28, 2023, 7:24 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 9:38 am

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president lashed out Wednesday at the chief justice of the country’s Supreme Court, accusing her of promoting rulings favorable to criminal suspects.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s comments opened a new debate over the separation of powers in Mexico, at a time when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the president’s controversial cuts to election agency funding.

López Obrador has already attacked independent regulatory agencies, slammed the judiciary and cut funding for the National Electoral Institute.

The electoral dispute has led the president to feud with the press, demonstrators and the U.S. State Department. Opponents say the electoral cuts threaten Mexico’s democracy, and have appealed them to the Supreme Court.

López Obrador’s comments Wednesday opened a head-on conflict between the administration and Supreme Court Chief Justice Norma Piña, the first woman to hold that post.

The president was angered after a judge issued an injunction striking down an arrest warrant against Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, a former governor of the northern border state of Tamaulipas, who had been accused of corruption.

López Obrador said the ruling was unjust, and claimed that had become the norm under Piña.

“As soon as the new chief justice arrived, it unleashed a wave of rulings in favor of criminal suspects,” López Obrador said, accusing her of acting as if judges “can do whatever they want.”

López Obrador had supported another woman, Yasmin Esquivel, for the chief justice post. But Esquivel was knocked out of consideration after the university she graduated from determined she had plagiarized her thesis. A report by the Spanish newspaper El País suggested that she had also largely copied her doctoral thesis.

López Obrador previously had a cold but respectful relationship with Piña, who took office in January. The chief justice also serves as head of the judiciary’s internal-affairs council, tasked with punishing wayward judges.

López Obrador has pledged to bring criminal cases against any judge accused of corruption.

“This is not about interfering with another branch of government,” he said. “This is about not tolerating injustice and corruption.”

But he has indicated in the past that he assumes that any court ruling against his initiatives is the result of corruption, influence peddling or vested interests.

The Supreme Court had no immediate reaction to López Obrador’s comments.

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


jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

7 hours ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

20 hours ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

1 day ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

2 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

7 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

7 days ago

Mexican president lashes out at Supreme Court chief justice