June 1, 2023 – The Stanford Law School Rule of Law Impact Lab has filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Mexican Bar Association before the Mexican Supreme Court in the pending lawsuit challenging legislation (also known as “Plan B”) undermining the independence of Mexico’s highly-regarded Instituto Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Institute) or INE. The brief, filed on May 26, submits that the legislation violates Mexico’s obligations under international law relating to democracy and the right to vote and participate in free and fair elections.
La Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados, A.C. (Mexican Bar Association), is a civil association duly constituted in accordance with Mexican law, whose corporate purpose is to foster in its members, and in society in general, the spirit of equity and the struggle for the full realization of security, justice and the defense of all principles of law, as well as to strive for the improvement of the administration of justice and the correct application of the law.
“The Mexican legal profession is fulfilling its call to join forces with the judiciary to defend the rule of law,” said Víctor Oléa Peláez, President of the Mexican Bar Association. “Preserving and protecting the rule of law is not only a national issue. Our country is bound by international legal obligations and must comply with them.”
INE is regarded as one of the most effective national electoral management bodies in the world. It is an independent public agency responsible for organizing federal, state, and local elections in Mexico, issuing voter ID cards, supervising campaigns, and counting votes. In February 2023, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known to his supporters by his initials “AMLO”), introduced a bill that would gut INE’s capacity to organize elections and count votes by dismissing more than 80 percent of its civil servants and eliminating crucial offices overseeing elections. On February 22, 2023, Mexico’s Congress enacted the bill into law. Mexico’s presidential elections are scheduled to be held in July 2024 and may be adversely impacted by this new legislation if the Supreme Court allows it to stand.
INE has filed a lawsuit before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the highest court in Mexico, challenging the constitutionality of the legislation. The Mexican Bar Association’s amicus curiae (Latin for “friend of the court)” brief has been filed in this pending constitutional challenge.
“This legislation is part of a global trend of governments attempting to subvert the rule of law,” said Amrit Singh, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Rule of Law Impact Lab at Stanford Law School. “By targeting the national election agency, the legislation strikes at the heart of democracy and Mexico’s obligations under international law. We hope the Court will act, as other constitutional courts around the world have, to protect the rule of law from attack.”
The amicus brief underscores the Court’s role in protecting Mexico’s democracy. It also argues that the legislation violates Mexico’s obligations under international law relating to the right to democracy and the right to vote and to participate in free and fair elections. It also asserts that Mexico has an obligation to implement necessary measures to make such rights effective, and to ensure the independence and adequacy of resources for bodies in charge of elections. Per the filed brief, the legislation at issue violates these obligations.
About the Rule of Law Impact Lab
The Stanford Law School Rule of Law Impact Lab studies and deploys legal tools–litigation and legal research, documentation, and advocacy–in close collaboration with local practitioners and academics to combat democratic decline around the world, including in the U.S. The Rule of Law Impact Lab is inspired by the university-wide Stanford Impact Labs model, which focuses on tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges through the combined efforts of researchers and policymakers working across a range of disciplines.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.