The new year brought magnificent news for the Mexican judicial system and for the balance in the division of powers within the Mexican government. As per the powers of the Plenary Session of Mexico’s Supreme Court, the justices elected Justice Norma Piña as their president for the 2023-2026 time period, in accordance with constitutional terms. She is the first woman to hold this high office, which has been received with great approval by both the President of the Republic and by Mexican society as a whole. Additionally, Justice Piña has a career in the Mexican judicial system, which constitutes a distinct element and a sense of professional affection for district judges and circuit magistrates who consider her as someone “from home.”
The president of the Supreme Court does not have a formal hierarchy with respect to the other justices. This is technically known as primus interpares, which means first among equals. However, it has plenty of other relevant functions: the Organic Law of the Judiciary of the Federation authorizes her, among other tasks, to represent the Supreme Court. Another relevant power is that when she considers a matter as questionable or important, she may designate a justice as first reviewer to submit a draft judgment to the Court’s Plenary group. From an administrative standpoint, the president manages the Supreme Court of Justice and must submit to the President of the Republic annual budget proposals for expenses of the Federal Judiciary as a whole, as well as managing the budget of the Supreme Court. Additionally, as president Justice Piña presides over the Federal Judicial Council, the entity in charge of the administration, discipline system and judicial careers of the Federal Judiciary.
The professional background and voting record that Justice Norma Piña has issued in her performance appears to ensure that she will safeguard the independence of the federal courts and the autonomy of jurisdictional entities, including the National Supreme Court of Justice over which she now presides. Her appointment is very good news for judges and litigants in Mexico.