III.

THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS

A.

The petitioners

7. The petitioners contend that at its January 9, 2003 session, the National Congress appointed
Enrique Herrería Bonnet and Oswaldo Cevallos Bueno to serve as justices on the Constitutional
Court for the 2003-2007 period. The petitioners underscore the fact that the appointments
were done in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and the appointees were elected
by a majority of the members.1 On March 19, 2003, the Congress appointed the other justices
to the Constitutional Court, from the slates required under the Constitution. The petitioners
further point out that impeachment is the only legal avenue by which to remove a justice on
the Constitutional Court before the end of his or her term, and any other method of
termination not provided for in the Constitution or the law is unconstitutional.
8. The petitioners contend that on November 24, 2004, the President of the Congress
summoned 6 principal justices on the Constitutional Court to appear for impeachment on
December 1, 2004.2 The summons notwithstanding, on November 25, 2004 the majority party
in power in the National Congress adopted a resolution in which it states that Miguel Camba
Campos, Oswaldo Cevallos Bueno, Enrique Herrería Bonnet, Jaime Nogales Izureta, Luis Rojas
Bajaña, Mauro Terán Cevallos, Simón Zabala Guzmán and Manuel Jaramillo Córdova, justices
on the Constitutional Court had not been lawfully appointed and, therefore, were terminated.3
That same day, the Congress appointed the new justices from slates used previously in March
2003.
9. The impeachment proceeding on December 1, 2004, ended without the Congress passing
the motions of censure. However, rather than vetoing the termination decision that removed
the justices from the Constitutional Court, the President of the Republic convened a special
1 Article 130 of Ecuador’s Constitution provides that the Congress has the authority to “appoint () the justices of the
Constitutional Court (); to take cognizance of their recusals or resignations, and to appoint their replacements.” That
article also provides:
In those cases in which persons are appointed from slates, those slates will be presented within 20 days
following the date on which the vacancy occurs. If no slates are received within that time period, the Congress
shall make the appointment without slates of nominees.
The National Congress shall make the appointments within thirty days of the date on which each slate is
received. If it fails to do so, the person whose name appears at the top of the slate shall be understood to be
appointed
Article 275 of the Constitution reads as follows:
The Constitutional Court, which has nationwide jurisdiction, shall have its seat in Quito. It shall be composed of
nine justices, each of whom shall have an alternate.
Justices on the Constitutional Court shall serve for four years and may be re-elected. The organic law will spell
out the provisions governing its organization and operation, and the procedures the Court is to follow.
The justices on the Constitutional Court shall meet the same requirements required of the justices on the
Supreme Court and shall be subject to the same prohibitions. They shall not be answerable for the votes they
cast or for the opinions they write in the exercise of their office.
Justices shall be appointed by the National Congress, by a majority vote of its members, as follows:
Two from slates sent by the President of the Republic;.
Two from slates sent by the Supreme Court; the Supreme Court is not to nominate any of its own for the
Constitutional Court..
Two chosen by the National Congress, who shall be lawmakers.
One from the slate sent by the mayors and provincial governors.
One from the slate sent by the national, legally recognized labor unions and indigenous and campesino
organizations.
One from the slate sent by the legally recognized production organizations.
The law shall regulate the procedure to be followed to put together the slates of candidates referred to in the
last three sections
The Constitutional Court shall elect a president and vice president from among its members, who shall serve for
two years and may be re-elected
Article 4 of the Constitutional Oversight Law provides as follows: “The justices on the Constitutional Court shall
be elected in the manner prescribed in the Constitution and the law, must meet the same requirements
demanded for membership on the Supreme Court -except for those who come from within the judiciary-, shall
serve for four years and may be re-elected.”
2 The following justices were summoned: Mauro Terán Cevallos, Miguel Camba Campos, Luis Rojas Bajaña, Jaime
Nogales Izureta, De la Torre, Simón Zabala Guzmán and Manuel Jaramillo Córdova.
3 The document by which the justices were removed is Resolution 25-160 of November 25, 2004, published in Official
Record No. 485, of December 20, 2004.

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