The injunction (amparo) has been, and is, Mexico's main instrument of rights that people have to protect themselves from the authorities' power. Several wide-sweeping changes have been achieved in three main areas:
First. It expands the sphere of the protection of rights.
Human rights treaties enshrined in international treaties will be the subject of direct protection.
It provides judgments of unconstitutionality with general effects from the Supreme Court of Justice, which protects the rights of all people, even if they have not been tried. .
Second. It increases the effectiveness of Mexican justice.
The sentence of any "injunction for purposes" will indicate the precise terms that must be met....
Third. It strengthens the Judicial Branch of the Federation, particularly the Supreme Court of Justice.Hard to know from this - essentially a presidential press release - whether these changes are a good thing or a bad one. Hell, this is the first I've heard of this particular post-conviction writ from south of the border. But giving the Supreme Court power to "remove the authorities and their immediate superiors from office" if they fail to comply with an injunction seems like a potent judicial tool.
"Full Circuits" will be created so that the thesis contradictions within the same circuit may be resolved through full circuit courts.
To ensure due compliance with injunction sentences, the sanctions scheme will be strengthened.
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation may remove the authorities and their immediate superiors from office and report them to the District Judge if they fail to carry out an injunction sentence.
Today, after 172 years, the most important instrument for constitutional control in our legal system, the injunction, has been brought up to date.
As always, though, the devil is in the details and there may have been some very particular ulterior motives for some of the new rules. Mexico has just sued billionaire Telmex/Telcel owner Carlos Slim under federal anti-trust rules, alleging he charged illegal fees to customers of his near-monopoly communications companies which provide service to more than 3/4 of landlines and cell-phones in Mexico. Reported a recent Los Angeles Times story (April. 3):
Normally, businesses like Telmex would protect themselves using a kind of legal injunction, known as amparo, that has stymied numerous prosecutions.I'd never heard of the writ of amparo, but naturally Wikipedia has: "In many countries, an amparo action is intended to protect all rights other than physical liberty, which may be protected instead by habeas corpus remedies. Thus, in the same way that habeas corpus guarantees physical freedom, amparo protects other basic rights." It was first developed in the Yucatan (by a reader of Tocqueville) and enshrined formally in the Mexican Constitution in 1847, after Texas had split off from Mexico. So that explains why that particular Mexican legal tradition didn't carry over into Texas law as did so many other early Mexican influences. It entered the Mexican legal lexicon just after Texas entered the Union. Still, that's a brand of post-conviction writ Grits had never heard of and would like to learn more about. Readers who may know more, please expound or point to additional (preferably English language) references in the comments.
But, as it happens, this week also saw changes to the amparo that, among other things, would prevent its use in cases involving "significant public interest." Many experts believe that Telmex will not be able to avail itself of the amparo this time.