A Supreme Court justice resigned on Wednesday rather than face Senate impeachment proceedings, the fourth judge targeted in a high court purge led by President Nestor Kirchner.
Justice Adolfo Vazquez cited personal reasons in submitting his resignation, authorities said. Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez made the announcement only hours before lawmakers were expected to open hearings examining misconduct charges against Vazquez.
Vazquez was one of four judges appointed by former President Carlos Menem and targeted in a court shakeup by Kirchner's government, which claims many of their rulings were politically motivated.
Legal experts say the four formed the bulk of the "automatic majority" — five members of the nine-judge court who frequently ruled in favor of the government during Menem's 1989-99 rule.
Menem expanded the Supreme Court in 1989 in a move critics claim was aimed at packing the court with judges who ruled in favor of interest groups with close ties to his government.
Since Kirchner took office last May, two court justices have resigned rather than face congressional scrutiny. A third was dismissed after impeachment hearings.
Kirchner, a fierce Menem critic, called for an overhaul of the court in one of his first acts as president, saying it was the only way to ensure the courts remained impartial.
The moves to purge the court have in part helped to boost Kirchner's popularity ratings, now around 55 percent after 15 months in office, but legal experts and political analysts question whether the moves may be a bid to consolidate his own political power.