Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Congress Votes to Dismiss Four Justices

At 4 am this morning the Honduran Congress voted to dismiss four justices of the Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court, finding "administrative cause" for them to be dismissed.  

The cause?

The report of the congressional commission indicated that the decision of the Sala Constitucional of the Supreme Court that the law to cleanse the police was unconstitutional was "not in line with the the security plans of the Executive and Legislative Branches".

Thus does the principle of separation of powers suffer its next blow. If anyone is unaware of the imbalance in Honduran governance, where the Congress already claimed unconstitutional power to replace the president and now has claimed such power over the legislative branch, this should be the wake-up call.

In a floor speech congress member Jeffrey Flores called the actions of the four justices "negligent" and called their dismissal "patriotic".

As if that was not illegal enough,  Congress named German Vicente García, Silvia Trinidad Santos, Victor Lozano, and Elmer Lizardo as replacement justices and swore three of them in. Congress plans to swear the fourth in next Monday when he returns from his ranch in Olancho.

Supreme Court judges in Honduras are selected by Congress from a list of candidates put together by a nominating committee constructed to represent all sectors of society (in theory).

The four people named as replacement judges were reportedly on the initial list of 45 candidates proposed by the last nominating committee.

There is no reported reaction from the Supreme Court or the Executive Branch so far.  Ramón Custodio, the Human Rights Commissioner for Honduras, said
It is sad that the National Congress legislated this morning to break the constitutional order in the country.

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