Venezuela’s Outgoing Parliament Packs Supreme Court with 34 Loyalists
CARACAS – The outgoing Venezuelan parliament, with a ruling-party majority, appointed 13 judges and 21 substitutes to the country’s Supreme Court, or TSJ, Wednesday.
Opposition alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, who won a two-thirds qualified majority in the December 6 legislative elections, called the appointments unconstitutional, unethical and immoral and asserted it will reverse the appointments.
The appointments come less than two weeks before Jan. 5, when the new parliament with an opposition majority is set to take over.
The judges were named following four extraordinary sessions held in quick succession on Tuesday and Wednesday
Speaker of the outgoing parliament, Diosdado Cabello, said the selection was approved by a constitutional majority and was carried out in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
“We, the 55 deputies here, are going to continue defending the Constitution and the law against all difficulties,” underlined Cabello.
The rift between Chavismo and the opposition has widened with this step that comes days before the ruling party loses control of the Parliament after 15 years of enjoying a majority in the house.
Chavista deputy Elvis Amoroso, who proposed the measure, said the jurists were highly qualified and the Venezuelan people are “very well represented,” by them.
Opposition deputy William Davila asked the newly-appointed judges not to turn into “judges of terror” as they were being named “through a null act because due procedures have not been followed.”
Earlier, on his radio program, MUD Executive Secretary Jesus Torrealba said the future AN could declare the actions leading to the appointments as “null and void” and reverse them, initiate dismissal of the judges for having been appointed without respecting timelines, or even reform the TSJ law.
“All these can happen and all this is going to happen,” he declared.
The new AN, will allow the MUD, with a 112-seat majority over Chavismo’s 55, to propose organic laws and also remove judges for grave misconduct.
Knowing that they were losing their parliamentary majority, the government had asked 13 judges whose terms would expire next year to retire early so that they could appoint new loyalist judges to fill the seats and prevent the incoming opposition parliament from doing so.
In the all important Constitutional Chamber, the outgoing National Assembly appointed as chief magistrates: Dr.Calixto Ortega, Dr. Luis Damiani and Dr. Lourdes Suarez. Substitutes: Federico Fuenmayor, Dr. Celeste Liendo, Dr. Juan Carlos Valdez, and Dr. René Degraves.
In the Criminal Chamber: Dr. Juan Luis Ibarra and Dr. Yanina Carvil.. Substitutes: Dr. Juan Carlos Cuenca, Dr. Jaqueline Maigleé Sosa and Dr. Sosa…
Administrative Chamber will be Dr. Mark and Dr. Medina. Eulalia Guerrero. Substitutes: Dr. José Requena, Dr. Emilio Ramos, Dr. Cesar Sanguinetti, Dr. Ismelda Rincon, and Dr. Suyin Olivares…
Civil Chamber: Dr. Vilma Fernandez, Dr. Francisco Velásquez, Dr. Ivan Bastard.. Substitutes: Dr. Jose Angel Armas, Aurides Dr. Mora, Dr. Ana Gomez Sloe…
Social Chamber: Dr. Jesus Jimenez Alfonzo. Substitutes:… Dr. Sonia Arias and Dr. Bettys Moon
Electoral Chamber appointed Dr Fanny Márquez and Dr. Cristian Zerpa.. Substitutes: Leixa Dr. Collins, Dr. Grycel Lopez, Dr. Carmen Álvez, and Dr. Mary Ramos Dunos