Mexican Supreme Court justice dies at 105

 January 12, 2024

Mexico is mourning the death of a prominent lawyer who served as president of the country's Supreme Court and ambassador to the Vatican.

Agustín Téllez Cruces died at the old age of 105. A minute of silence was observed at the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).

"Mexico's constitutional judiciary will safeguard the legacy of its work and its memory in its foundations," an obituary states.

Mexican Supreme Court justice dies

In his youth, Cruces studied law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He was born in Guanajuato, a municipality in Central Mexico.

In 1974, he rose to the Supreme Court and was selected president of the court three years later. Presidents of the court serve four-year terms.

The court has eleven justices, who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, much like in the U.S.

He was re-elected president of the court in 1982 but chose to step down, going on to serve as a senator for his native Guanajuato from 1982 to 1984 and then as interim governor of the state, one of 32 that make up the Mexican federation.

Many streets bear his name throughout the state.

He was a representative of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari to Pope John Paul II.

Cruces was born in 1918, during the Mexican Revolution, a decade of deadly political upheaval that began with a fraudulent presidential election. Mexico's dictator at the time, Porfirio Diaz, jailed his political opponent and declared victory.

Mexico's current operating Constitution was adopted during the revolution. For most of the 20th century, Mexico was governed under a single party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Tensions rise between U.S., Mexico

Under current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico continues to struggle with endemic corruption and drug trafficking.

The constant influx of fentanyl and migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border is a point of contention between the two countries, and President Biden is under mounting pressure to address the issue.

In exchange for Mexico's help, Obrador has asked Biden for $20 billion in financial aid to impoverished Latin American countries and visas for 10 million Hispanic workers in the U.S.

Republicans have characterized the request as "blackmail."

Biden dispatched his top diplomat, Antony Blinken, and top immigration official, Alejandro Mayorkas, to Mexico in December, but nothing substantive came of the visit.

In December, Mexico's Supreme Court overturned a 2022 ban on the centuries-old Spanish tradition of bullfighting.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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