BUENOS AIRES – The oldest justice on the Argentine Supreme Court, Carlos Fayt, 97, on Tuesday presented his resignation, which will take effect on Dec. 11, after President Cristina Fernandez’s successor is scheduled to take office, judicial officials said.
“I have the pleasure of addressing myself to the president of the republic for the purpose of presenting my resignation,” said Fayt in a written missive released by the Judicial Information Center.
Over the past year, Fayt has been the target of repeated criticism by the government, which questioned his ability to exercise his duties on the high court because of his advanced age.
Argentine law sets the retirement age for the country’s judges at 75, but Fayt, who was already a Supreme Court justice when that rule was established, received a ruling by the Court to retain his post and survived the changes on the court, including the reduction in the number of justices by late President Nestor Kirchner.
“Fayt was always an independent judge,” his attorney, Jorge Rizzo, told TN television on Tuesday, adding that his client’s resignation is “the best decision he could have made.”
The resignation will become effective one day after the new Argentine president – whoever it may be – takes office, and that official will have to start the process to fill Fayt’s vacancy, along with that of Justice Raul Zaffaroni, who left the court early this year.
The government party has been unable to fill Zaffaroni’s seat, despite dominating the Senate, because it does not have the required two-thirds majority to do so on its own.