The credibility of the SCJN in question

The Recess Commission of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) admitted the controversy presented by the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies against the INE agreement that ordered the temporary suspension of activities related to the process of revocation of the mandate of the President López Obrador. At the same time, it granted the requested precautionary measures: the suspension of the agreement issued by the INE while the SCJN pronounces on the merits of the litigation.

Lorenzo Córdova, president of the INE, said that this body will abide by what the Recess Commission ruled. After reviewing the supporting signatures, if the 3% of the register is exceeded, the INE will make the call and continue the revocation activities, with the available budget.

However, the Recess Commission, made up of Ministers Ríos Fajat and Esquivel Mossa, exceeded its powers. It was empowered to admit the constitutional controversy presented by the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies and to issue precautionary measures, but not to make substantive pronouncements. He made two that question the impartiality of its members.

According to the SCJN statement, the Recess Commission ordered the INE to “continue the organization and development of the mandate revocation process until its conclusion with the approved budget of $ 1,503 million, which constitutes an indicator of financial viability.” But the INE showed the SCJN (and before the Chamber of Deputies) that the consultation, as established by the Federal Mandate Revocation Law (LFRM), costs 3,830 million pesos.

The ministers Ríos Fajat and Esquivel Mossa, came to the conclusion, in a couple of days, without technical or financial support, that it is “feasible” to carry out the process of revocation of mandate, in 161,000 squares, with 1,503 million pesos.

Additionally, the ministers accuse the INE of decreeing on its own the precautionary measures that had been denied after filing a constitutional controversy against the budget approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The accusation is insulting and wrong.

The INE asked the SCJN, when presenting its own controversy, to suspend the obligation to adjust its budget to the cut imposed by the legislators. The investigating minister, González Alcántara, denied the precautionary measure because the review of the signatures had not yet been completed and the consultation was uncertain. Consequently, the INE adjusted its budget and, with the cancellation of other expenses for 2022, added 673 million pesos to the 830 million pesos authorized by the Chamber of Deputies.

However, according to INE financial studies, the resulting 1,503 million pesos were still insufficient to pay for the mandate revocation process under the terms established by the LFRM. For this reason, it issued the agreement to suspend the activities, as of the conclusion of the review of the supporting firms.

Once there was legal certainty regarding the holding of the revocation consultation, the SCJN could rule on how to resolve the budget shortfall. There are two options ahead: order a budget expansion or make the LFRM rules more flexible, to adapt the activities to the available resources.

The SCJN’s resolution on the merits is still pending. A majority is required to pass it. However, the agreement issued by the Recess Commission, which deviated from due process, leaves many doubts about the impartiality of those who make up this temporary body. Their actions may end up damaging the credibility of the institution that constitutes the last resort to enforce the Magna Carta in the face of arbitrary acts by those who have the power to approve the Federation’s budget.

* The author is a professor at CIDE.

Twitter: @BenitoNacif

Benito nacif


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Dr. Benito Nacif is a professor in the Political Studies Division of the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE). He was Electoral Counselor of the National Electoral Institute (INE) from 2014 to 2020 and of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) from 2008 to 2014.

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