Fights in the Supreme Court: what is behind the anti-Maqueda campaign?

On January 23, Juan Carlos Macqueda He read an article in a news portal that linked him to the case that investigates possible mismanagement in the Social Work of the Judicial Power. Hours later, while he was having lunch with his wife, a chef with whom he has shared his life for more than 30 years, the senior minister of the highest court suffered a vasovagal syncope.

Since the resignation of Ellen Highton of Nolasco, longest serving judge Supreme Court it was pointed out on different occasions by those who want to produce a profound change in the highest court. From outside, but also from inside the Palace of Justice.

Some voices slipped that he was already thinking about retiring: he asked his entourage to emphatically deny it and warned that, at 72, he still has three years left in the position. In addition, in recent weeks posters have appeared accusing him of being a thief. “You stole the social work,” say the anonymous banners. The judge insists that “they are operations.” But so many bitterness together can endanger his health.

BATTLES. The SAME rushed to Maqueda to the Fernandez Hospital, first, and the IADT later. The next day they had already discharged him. In the judge’s environment they downplay this latest health inconvenience: “He has had intestinal problems since he was young,” they comment. Explanations aside, he hurried back to work and, two days after the unfortunate event, he was already in his office. A way to show validity in the midst of so many rumors.

The noise about his continuity as a courtier began in October 2021, when Highton submitted his resignation and left the highest court near the limit of its operational capacity, with four members. From there, in the halls of the courthouse The version began to spread that the Cordovan jurist could leave his place. But those around him were quick to deny it. In fact, when they talk to Maqueda about his retirement plans, the minister replies with a smile: “There’s a lot to go, ask me a year before.” He does not give the arm to twist.

Of those responsible for what he classifies as “operations”, no one gives names and surnames. However, it is easy to reach a conclusion, through discarding. with the doctors Rosatti and Rosenkrantz cultivated an excellent relationship. In fact, he proposed them as president and vice president of the body”, say judicial sources. on the other side is Ricardo Lorenzetti, who could have counted on his help to begin to forge a majority and return to being the head of the highest court, but was left empty-handed.

There is also an external factor: the Government. Alberto Fernández’s cabinet has nothing personal against Maqueda, but it does against the Court: therefore, targeting the weakest link could bring down the body and hasten a reform that they have publicly demanded.

For this reason, near Maqueda they assure that the accusation for the alleged irregularities in the Social Work also derives from there. The main investigated is the director, Aldo Tonón, of course embezzled. However, from the Sitraju union, commanded by Deputy K Vanesa Siley, They have made every effort to expand the investigation and thus be able to link the Cordovan jurist to the case, considering him an administrator in the Court. “It’s not true”, they say in the corridors of the Courthouse. And they explain: “Since the agreed 42 of 2018, all resolutions are signed in a collegiate manner. Therefore, if there were those responsible, it would be all the ministers.” For now, the guilt or not of the Cordovan jurist is debated more in the media than in court.

POLITICIAN. Beyond the attacks that insist on putting him in the ring, make up continues with its doctrine of the low profile. He chose her 20 years ago when she abandoned her political career to enter the highest court of Justice, after the nomination of Eduardo Duhalde (whom he considers his political godfather along with Jose Manuel de la Sota). From that moment on, he stopped giving interviews, resigned from university professorships and no longer attended seminars. For two decades he has only spoken through his faults.

The dean minister, who December 30 will celebrate two decades in the Court, has a strange privilege whose only antecedent was found in José Figueroa Alcorta: having participated in the leadership of the three powers of the State. In 2002 he was provisional president of the Senate and, in the absence of a vice in the Executive, he had to supplant the then president Duhalde ten times. At the end of the year he became a minister in the highest court of Justice.

Maqueda was born in Río Tercero. His parents, merchants who went through different fields, sympathized with radicalism, so it was surprising that he approached Peronism.

He started as a “clicker” in the Judiciary, while studying at the Catholic University of Córdoba. But his work as an intern lasted until 1976, when the dictatorship declared him “expendable.” After graduating as a lawyer, he got his first job as a political official: he was 24 years old when he was appointed director of Culture for the municipality of Córdoba.

He was a provincial legislator in the ’80s and then a national deputy, twice. He was part of four constituent conventions: twice in his province, once in the municipality of Córdoba and the other in the national reform of ’94. On that occasion, in Santa Fe, he worked side by side with Horacio Rosatti, with whom he would meet again 25 years later.

PRIVACY. The pandemic changed many customs in Maqueda’s life, but he was unable to get the Minister of the Court to desist from working in his office, even when the judges’ meetings were held by Zoom.

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