Carlos Rosenkrantz, the 59-year-old Argentine lawyer who voted to reduce sentences for convicted criminals against humanity became the new president of Argentina’s Supreme Court Tuesday, after Ricardo Lorenzetti, who headed the Supreme Court for 11 years and ruled against price hikes during President Mauricio Macri’s government, stepped down.
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After the announcement was made, social media users criticized the new head of Argentina’s highest court for his record as a lawyer representing national and multinational companies in cases against the Argentine state. Among his clients are media giants Clarin and La Nación, McDonald’s, and public-private partnership YPF.
Rosenkrantz’s record also includes defending Argentina’s homosexual community in 1991 when they were being denied legal status.
The controversy surrounding the newly-appointed president of the Supreme Court is also linked to his proximity to the ruling party coalition Cambiemos.
Rosenkrantz is one of three Supreme Court justices Macri attempted to designate by decree without the Senate’s approval, which caused a national scandal and resistance from human rights groups and political opponents. Macri desisted and presented his nominations to the Senate, that confirmed Rosenkrantz with 58 votes in favor and 12 against.
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Rosenkrantz was sworn in on Aug. 22, 2016. According to Hernan Iglesias Illia, who wrote a book “Cambiamos,” or We Changed, a spin on the ruling coalition’s name Cambiemos, or Let’s Change, claimed the new Supreme Court president advised Macri’s chief of staff Marco Peña on how to move in academic circles.
Argentina’s Center for Legal and Social Studies has warned that Rosenkrantz is reluctant to apply international human rights precedents, doesn’t favor court rulings on social and economic rights, and has a restrictive interpretation of the right to protest.
In February 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the Argentine justice will no longer have to comply with rulings by the Inter-American Human Rights Court and in May, with Rosenkrantz’s vote, it ruled to reduce the sentence of convicted criminals against humanity.
Agustin Rossi, an opposition legislator, warned that with Rosenkrantz as president the court will have "a political line too close to the executive.”
Julio Piumato, of the union of judicial workers, said: “the government played a role here. … Lorenzetti had said he would not be an austerity justice. … A very dark period for judicial power and the country is coming.”