Monday, December 17, 2012

Supreme Court Chief Justice Role in Congressional Purge

We can add Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Rivera Aviles to the list of those disdaining the Honduran constitution.

That will come as no surprise to our gentle readers. Rivera Aviles is a politician out for himself, and only secondarily a justice.  We saw that first with his "opinions" (really acts of legal fiction) during the 2009 coup and after.

That he has aligned himself with Juan Orlando Hernandez seems clear.  He met with the president of Congress and the president of Honduras on Saturday, and they all agreed to work together in harmony.  It was just after that meeting that Lobo Sosa explained his ridiculous theory of constitutional law: that the Executive and Judicial branches of government should follow the Legislative branch.

Rivera Aviles claims that he had no foreknowledge of what Juan Orlando Hernandez had planned for his court, nor was he involved in the negotiations.  He claims he supports the dismissed justices. 

But his actions say otherwise.

Both Marvin Ponce, UD party Congressman, and Juan Orlando Hernandez have said that Rivera Aviles was involved in the negotiations to dismiss the four justices.  Ponce also states that Rivera Aviles indicated that he had problems with the four because he didn't agree with many of their rulings.  Hernandez says Rivera Aviles was involved in the selection of the new justices. That seems to be confirmed since newly appointed justice de-facto Elmer Lizardo has said that he was contacted by Rivera Aviles to find out if he would accept the post.

Two of the dismissed justices (Jose Francisco Ruiz and Rosalinda Cruz Sequeira) have spoken out to say that if Rivera Aviles supports them, he hasn't bothered to express it to them in person.  They both said that they had been contacted with personal messages of support from everyone on the court except Rivera Aviles, who only spoke with the press.

Justice Raul Henriquez said that he will not participate in Supreme Court sessions where the [his word] usurpers are present.  He also indicated that the Supreme Court, which can only be called into a plenary session by Rivera Aviles, will probably not meet until after the seasonal judicial vacation.  He called Juan Orlando Hernandez a serious man, someone who wouldn't lie to the public about having met with Rivera Aviles.

You can reach your own conclusion, but to us it is clear based on his actions that Rivera Aviles does not support the dismissed justices; that his words were a smoke screen designed to cloud the political stand he's taken with its long range implications for Honduras's (lack of) constitutional democracy.

Justice Henriquez left it up to Rivera Aviles to clarify his own actions, but closed his interview with these thoughts:
I respectfully call out to the Congressmen; I know there are very good lawyers.  The president of Congress is a lawyer.  He is an intelligent man.  I ask him to talk about it, to think of his family, of his children and what he's doing to them.  Do not do harm to anyone else in the country or the rule of law.  I make a public plea that he ponder what has happened.  We can all fix what has happened and we cannot continue in this situation of anxiety that he is making 8 million Hondurans suffer.

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