10 April 2024

Deine Botschaft ist meine Burg

Am 5. April 2024 drangen in der ecuadorianischen Hauptstadt Quito Polizeieinheiten in die Botschaft von Mexiko ein, um den ehemaligen Vizepräsidenten Ecuadors, Jorge David Glas Espinel, zu ergreifen. In der internationalen Gemeinschaft löste die Erstürmung der Botschaft Entrüstung aus. Die mexikanische Regierung erwägt nunmehr, Ecuador in der Angelegenheit vor dem Internationalen Gerichtshof in Den Haag zu verklagen. Eine solche Klage dürfte erfolgreich sein, auch wenn die mexikanische Position nicht in Gänze unproblematisch ist, da die Gewährung der Zuflucht in der Botschaft nach den lateinamerikanischen Völkerrechtsregeln rechtswidrig sein könnte.

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25 October 2023
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The Mexican Standoff

In a historical march, tens of thousands of judicial staff, lawyers, and judges – including at least one justice of the Supreme Court – took to the streets of Mexico City on 22 October 2023. Chanting slogans such as ‘¡El Poder Judicial de la Federación no se toca!’ and ‘¡Somos los garantes de la Constitución!’ protesters rallied against the Mexican government’s plans to slash the federal judiciary’s (Poder Judicial de la Federación, PJF) funding. In this contribution, we analyse what this dispute is all about and explain why the government’s plans jeopardise the independence of the Mexican judiciary. In particular, we argue that the recent, seemingly innocent financial measures come at the cusp of an alarming authoritarian turn. Finally, we offer some tentative thoughts on what the endgame in this quickly escalating dispute might look like.

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12 May 2023

Can the Mexican Supreme Court Save Constitutional Democracy?

The last week of the legislative term in Mexico was just another showcase of the clear government's disdain for democratic institutions and the rule of law. At the end of April, MORENA, the party in government, used its legislative majorities to hastily pass a series of laws in violation of different procedural rules, including quorum rules. The episode described above isn’t uncommon in Mexico’s legislative politics. The quality of the political-constitutional discourse is in great need of improvement to prevent such episodes from happening. It seems that the Supreme Court is the only institution that could contribute (and has been trying to contribute) to repair it. However, in the current political environment, Supreme Court interventions in political processes are becoming increasingly dangerous to the extent that its survival is at stake.

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18 April 2023
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Whispers of Change (Vol. II)

Mexico’s prolonged refusal to eliminate mandatory preventive detention from its legal system has slowly but steadily contributed to the rising tension between the Mexican Supreme Court, the Mexican State, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Following both Courts’ recent decisions on the case of García Rodríguez y Alpízar Ortíz v. México (both have recently decided cases concerning virtually the same set of facts with notoriously varying outcomes), the discussion heats as it now relates to one of the most relevant inquiries of modern constitutional study: judicial review of constitutional provisions and amendments.

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05 March 2023

Mexican Democracy (and the Supreme Court) at a Crossroads

Mexican democracy has come a long way since the creation of the electoral watchdog three decades ago. The Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) had a crucial role in securing the transition to democracy after the Partido de la Revolución Institucional (PRI) 70-year hegemonic rule. As such, it has since become a pillar of the country’s democracy. Yet, on February 22nd, the Mexican Federal Congress passed a set of amendments to electoral law overhauling the electoral agency. Together with a set of amendments passed last December, these changes to electoral law undermine the agency’s independence by, among other things, slashing the size of the agency's civil service by 85%. This puts into serious question the capacity of the agency to guarantee the organization of free and fair elections in the general election next year.

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22 February 2023

Democratic Backsliding and the Supreme Court in Mexico

Democratic backsliding begins at the ballot box, and the turning point in Mexico was the election of 2018, which the charismatic leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his party won by a landslide. López Obrador’s government has pushed through a comprehensive electoral reform which will negatively affect the right to vote and the legitimacy of the general election of 2024. The Supreme Court will have to decide whether the reform stands or not.

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22 September 2022
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Whispers of Change

Until recently, a debate on Mexico’s Supreme Court's power to scrutinize the constitutionality of constitutional provisions seemed largely distant. But for the first time in its history, the Supreme Court discussed a draft opinion of one of its members calling for the inapplicability of Article 19 of the Mexican Constitution, which provides the so-called mandatory preventive imprisonment as an automatic measure when investigating specific felonies. With the future of Mexican constitutionalism pending from this decision, the stakes are as high as they have ever been.

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05 November 2021

Vom Widerstand gegen die Mauer zur Mauer selbst

So sehr sich die komparative Migrationsforschung in jüngster Zeit auch weiterentwickelt hat, so sehr leidet sie immer noch unter einer eklatanten Annahme: dass Staaten über die gleiche souveräne Macht verfügen, ihre Migrationspolitik entsprechend ihren eigenen Interessen zu bestimmen. Der Begriff der "Externalisierung", der heutzutage so häufig diskutiert wird, erinnert uns an die Asymmetrien der Macht. In Fällen extremer Asymmetrie, wie im Verhältnis zwischen Mexiko und den Vereinigten Staaten, ist der Spielraum für souveräne Entscheidungen in der Migrationspolitik äußerst gering bis nicht vorhanden.

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From Opposing the Wall to Becoming it

As much as the comparative study of migration policies has developed recently, it still suffers from a blazing assumption: that states have equal sovereign power to determine their migration policy according to their own interests. The notion of “externalization”, so widely discussed nowadays, reminds us of asymmetries of power. In cases of extreme asymmetry though, as in the relation between Mexico and the United States, the spaces for sovereign decision making on migration policy are extremely thin to nonexistent.

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13 October 2021
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“The right to life does not begin at conception”

This September, the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice issued a triad of rulings that constituted a fundamental step towards the full respect of the reproductive and sexual rights of women and other individuals with gestational capacity in our country. In this way, the Mexican Supreme Court positioned itself once again as a true ally in the fight for reproductive freedoms and also as a trailblazer since the protections outlined in the aforementioned rulings are the strongest handed down by a constitutional court in Latin America to this day.

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20 July 2021

One Step Forward: Cannabis Regulation in Mexico

On 28 June2021, the Supreme Court of Mexico declared with a general effect that an absolute ban on “recreational” marihuana use is unconstitutional. This was only the second time in history that the Supreme Court issued a general declaration of unconstitutionality, which represents a step forward in the long and winding road for a comprehensive cannabis regulation in Mexico.

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21 April 2021
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Recognising Nuances

This week, the German Parliament is beginning its debate on the cabinet draft for a national Due Diligence Act (Sorgfaltspflichtengesetz). Critics of Germany’s initiative often claim that it would run counter to the development interests of the Global South. This, however, not only ignores strong development policy arguments in favour of human rights due diligence (HRDD) regulation but also the fact that several countries in the Global South are calling for similar obligations or have already created them. In particular, Germany may learn valuable lessons from the Colombian Constitutional Court’s recent case law which has created meaningful HRDD obligations for companies as well as from a draft for a Mexican Due Diligence Act.

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25 February 2021

COVID-19 in Mexico: A Year in Review

Close to a year since its first confirmed case of COVID-19, several indicators place Mexico among the countries that have suffered the worst effects of the pandemic. This post offers a critical overview of the governmental responses to the outbreak. It begins by describing the actions taken by officials of the different branches and levels of government. This is followed by an assessment of the many omissions and deficiencies that have characterized the response of the Federal Executive. Lastly, it closes by offering an outlook for 2021.

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