Argentine Supreme Court Blocks Part of Fernandez Legal Overhaul

Argentina’s Supreme Court blocked part of the judicial changes proposed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in a move that threatens to stall her ambitions to “democratize” the nation’s legal system.

The court ruled today that proposed changes to the selection of members of the council of magistrates is unconstitutional, according to a copy of the ruling published by the Court information website. Six of seven judges objected to the proposed changes, saying they were against the principles established in the 1853 Constitution amended in 1994.

Argentina’s Congress approved four bills in May promoted by Fernandez, including limits on injunctions against the state and expanding the number of members on the council of magistrates, a body that oversees judges’ rulings and conduct. According to the bill, new council members would be elected through popular vote.

“Powers are limited,” the majority six judges said in the ruling. “If somebody wants to change this, the Constitution should be modified.”

Fernandez, 60, has clashed with the courts over the last year as government initiatives including the regulation of media groups and the expropriation of the Rural Society’s grounds in Buenos Aires have been left unenforceable through injunctions.

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