Argentina's Lower Houe Impeachment Committee has a busy week ahead, with the agenda including a request to evaluate Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt’s 'psychophysical condition'. The committee will also treat impeachment requests against Prosecutor General Alejandra Gils Carbó, foreign minister Hector Timerman and vice-president Amado Boudou.
Justice Fayt's evaluation was requested by cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez who has questioned the judge's capability to work in Argentina's top court, where he has been for over thirty years and now is 97 years old.
The administration of President Cristina Fernandez is confronted with the Judiciary branch since her reform proposal was thrown out and her attempts to name judges more aligned with her government so far have been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Following on this the Argentine government has launched fierce attacks on Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti and the eldest and most respected member of the Court, Fayt because of his age, and also questioned some procedural mistakes committed.
“The independence of the Supreme Court is at stake here. Kirchnerism is trying to analyze Fayt’s psychophysical condition but this can only happen if there is an impeachment request against the judge… and there is none,” said opposition lawmaker Pablo Tonelli arguing the evaluation is an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
Kirchnerite Victory Front lawmaker Hector Recalde confirmed the party's intention to proceed with an impeachment hearing against Fayt, signaling that the judge's physical and mental capacity to serve must be evaluated.
It is the Victory Front's decision not to impeach Caros Fayt, but rather find out if he is mentally and physically fit to rule on Supreme Court matters, Recalde affirmed.
Justice Carlos Fayt who has not been in good health lately on Saturday spoke on a radio program following a week in which his continuity on the Supreme Court was the topic of political debate in Argentina with Anibal Fernandez repeatedly insisting on knowing about his physical and mental health, challenging Fayt to end rumors by giving a press conference.
However Fayt's brief intervention did not dissipate the government’s doubts over how the Supreme Court has been operating and controversy between the two state branches seems far from over. Furthermore the Justice ended his comments vowing to stay in the tribunal “as long as God allows me.”
On Tuesday also Justices are scheduled to meet at the Supreme Court and members are likely to send a strong message of unity to the government.