Mexico elects new chief justice amid intrigue

The eleven justices of Mexico’s supreme court have elected Norma Lucia Piña as their new chief justice. Chief Justice Piña will be the first woman to lead the court in its history.

The 6-5 vote carried a fair bit of intrigue. Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had backed Justice Yasmín Esquivel for the position, and apparently had pressured the other judges to support her candidacy. But Justice Esquivel was also battling under allegations that she had plaigiarized her senior thesis while an undergraduate in the 1980s. Lopez Obrador subsequently demounced the result of the election, arguing that “the judicial branch has been kidnapped … has been eclipsed by money, by economic power.”

Piña stressed the importance of judicial independence in her first remarks as chief justice. It sounds like there will be some turbulent times ahead.

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