San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Sala IV suspends legislative vote that denied re-election of judge

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, admitted an appeal filed by lawmaker Luis Fishman against a vote in the Legislative Assembly that blocked re-election of Sala IV Judge Fernando Cruz. Cruz is seen as a politically independent judge, and lawmakers’ efforts to block his re-election to another eight-year term set off a political firestorm last week.

By admitting the appeal, Sala IV judges ordered Cruz to remain on the bench pending a final ruling.

Fishman, who quit the Social Christian Unity Party on Monday over the row, said that the assembly vote happened after the allowed term limit to do so, and Cruz automatically should be re-elected.

Thirty-eight lawmakers voted against Cruz’s re-election.

Sala IV judges said that, “this court orders [lawmakers] not to implement the provisions of Act No. 99 of November 15. … It should be understood that Judge Fernando Cruz Castro shall continue in his post, with all the powers, rights and duties of his charge, until a ruling is issued on this appeal.”

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