1968: One Year In the Life of the Mexican Federal Judiciary

Héctor Fix-Fierro

Abstract

1968 is considered a mythical year in many parts of the world. In Mexico, it has acquired an almost sacred status. The student movement is com¬monly viewed as the beginning of the prolonged process of democratic transition that has unfolded in the last decades. Although there is very abundant literature about the events of that year, the role that the Mexican Federal Judiciary (MFJ) played in them has practically not been examined. The article analyzes the si¬tuation and performance of the Supreme Court of Justice and the MFJ during that single year. For this purpose, the essay examines the following aspects: the composition, organization and resources of the federal courts; judicial statistics; judicial precedents; judicial ideology and public perception on the justice system; and finally, the intervention of federal judges in the judicial proceedings instituted against the students and other leftist political dissidents. The article concludes that the MFJ was subject to many constraints and limitations that, for good measure, hampered its role in the defense of constitutional order. Twenty years later the reforms leading to the transformation of the Supreme Court of Justice into a constitutional court were started, favoring a more active intervention of judges and courts in the protection and defense of fundamental rights.

Keywords

Mexican Federal Judiciary; student revolts; judicial backlog; ju¬dicial statistics; writ of amparo; democratic transition

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References

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