Mexico's Supreme Court Elects First Female President

Mexico's Supreme Court on Monday elected Justice Norma Lucía Piña as its first female chief justice in history, a result welcomed by opposition parties as she is not thought of as an ally of Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Mexico's Supreme Court Elects First Female President
Image credit: Mexico's Supreme Court/Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • Mexico's Supreme Court on Monday elected Justice Norma Lucía Piña as its first female chief justice in history, a result welcomed by opposition parties as she is not thought of as an ally of Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
  • Justice Piña, who was appointed for a 15-year Supreme Court term in 2015, received six votes against five for Justice Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena in the third round of voting to succeed Arturo Zaldívar as the head of Mexico's top court and the Federal Judicial Council until December 2026.
  • As she was sworn in, Piña vowed to keep the country's highest court independent amid strained relations with the López Obrador administration.
  • López Obrador, who has candidly challenged the Supreme Court, had supported Justice Yasmin Esquivel in the hope of seeing a more sympathetic chief justice, but her candidacy was overshadowed by allegations that she had plagiarized her graduation thesis in 1987.
  • He has pressured the court to back his nationalist energy agenda, particularly his drive to give control of the energy sector to national power utility Comisión Nacional de Electricidad and state oil firm Pemex, but Justice Piña has defended Mexico's transition to renewable energy.
  • Though former Interior Secretary of the López Obrador admin., Sen. Olga Cordero, welcomed the election deeming it "the time for women," López Obrador stated that "the judicial branch has been kidnapped; it has been eclipsed by money, by economic power."

Sources: Associated Press, Mexico News Daily, Al Jazeera, and Reuters.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by TrendsWide. A constitutional law specialist, Piña's breaking of the glass ceiling in the legal profession has created an opening of women to positions of power. However, there is more to her extensive experience and exceptional abilities than her gender. The next four years of her presidency could bring a proper balance of powers, an absolute defense of the Constitution, and judicial independence against any attempt at intervention by Obrador's government.
  • Narrative B, as provided by New York Times. Mexico has serious challenges when it comes to gender equality. Femicide, the crime of killing women, is rampant. Piña's victory may not be enough to win the battle for Mexican women living in fear and fighting for social, political, and economic justice. Only time will tell if her ascent can reform the criminal justice system that all-to-often lets murderers and rapists roam free.