Puebla, Mexico, June 15, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s highest court dismissed Wednesday a call from the attorney general for the removal of its judges.
In its latest ruling, the Supreme Court (TSJ) rejected an argument from Attorney General Luisa Ortega, who alleged there may have been “irregularities” in the selection of judges.
The justices were appointed to the TSJ in December 2015 by a lame duck parliament. The right-wing opposition has long accused Maduro of making the last minute move to stack the court in his favour after losing parliamentary elections just weeks earlier.
Once a strong Maduro ally, Ortega has now echoed similar allegations, arguing that the justices were appointed without her approval. National Ombudsman Tarek William Saab has contested the top prosecutor's version of events, while a photo has surfaced showing Ortega handing in a list of TSJ nominees to the National Assembly.
On Wednesday, the high court threw out the attorney general's lawsuit, ruling that judges could only be removed by a two thirds majority vote within the TSJ, and only in cases where “serious offences” had taken place.
The ruling was the second setback for Ortega, who has been locked in a series of disputes with the TSJ for weeks. On Monday, the court also dismissed Ortega’s motion to halt Maduro’s planned constituent assembly – a citizen’s body with the power to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution.
Opposition groups responded to Monday’s ruling by attacking the TSJ’s offices in eastern Caracas, hurling Molotov cocktails and looting parts of the building. More than 2000 workers were forced to evacuate.