Mexico‘s Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the highly unusual resignation of a Supreme Court associate justice who previously held numerous high-level government positions, amid an investigation into suspicious bank transfers.
The upper chamber accepted Eduardo Medina Mora’s resignation by a vote of 111-3, with five abstentions. The vote was required by the constitution, which establishes that resignations from the high court can only happen due to “serious causes”.
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Mexican laws do not stipulate what such causes may be, and many senators said during deliberations that it was necessary to know what motivated Medina Mora’s resignation, but that clarification did not come.
Medina Mora had served just four years of his 15-year term on the Supreme Court.
Reports this summer raised questions about transfers to accounts in the United States and the United Kingdom that allegedly well exceeded Medina Mora’s declared income, according to the newspaper El Universal.a
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador already accepted the resignation and said he believes Medina Mora needs to deal with the matter, which is pending with federal prosecutors. The president also said there should be no assigning of blame until the investigation plays out, and that he had nothing to do with a resignation he said was Medina Mora’s decision alone.
“I did not give instructions for him to be harassed so he would quit,” Lopez Obrador said on Monday. “It is an investigation that is with the attorney general’s office.”
Medina Mora has served in multiple cabinet posts under the three previous administrations and as ambassador to Washington.
Lopez Obrador must now send the Senate a slate of candidates from which it will pick a candidate to replace Medina Mora in the high court. The president’s Morena party controls a majority but will need support from some opposition senators to make the pick.