Judicial Independence and Transformative Constitutionalism in the Age of Austerity: The Case of Mexico

In April, 2019, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a ruling of abstract review, declaring measures reducing the remuneration of numerous public servants as unconstitutional. Those measures were the result of the contents of Article 127 of the Constitution, establishing that no public official shall earn more than the President. When the latter’s remuneration was substantially reduced as part of a series of austerity measures, cuts to other officials’ wages followed. Federal and local judges were amongst those affected. Even though an initial draft of the Supreme Court’s decision addressed how this hinged upon judicial independence, the Plenum rejected this analysis, rather focusing on formal grounds. This paper will address the general constitutional background of the Mexican Supreme Court’s decision. A brief comparison with the CJEU’s similar case of Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses will allow for engaging in a transatlantic debate on the elements of judicial independence.