New leadership announced for the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court
The National Council of the Judiciary (CNM) announced that Judge Napoleón Estevez Lavandier will assume the role of presiding judge of the Constitutional Court, succeeding Milton Ray Guevara, whose tenure ends on December 27th. This decision marks a significant transition in the highest body for the interpretation and control of constitutionality in the country.
Alongside Judge Lavandier, the CNM has selected Fidias Federico Aristy Payano, Amauri Amilcar Reyes Torres, Sonia Argentina Díaz Inoa de Sánchez, and Army Esperanza Ferreira Reyes as new members of the Constitutional Court for a nine-year term. Additionally, Miguel Aníbal Valera and Eunice Vásquez Acosta have been appointed as the first and second substitutes, respectively.
These appointments follow the departure of outgoing judges Rafael Díaz Filpo, Lino Vásquez Samuel, Víctor Joaquín Castellanos, and Justo Pedro Castellanos. The CNM initially vetted 115 candidates, narrowing the field to these appointees after a thorough review of constitutional and legal compliance.
The selection process was not without controversy, as CNM member Bautista Rojas Gómez left the meeting prematurely, expressing dissent with the proceedings. The CNM, chaired by President Luis Abinader, comprises various other notable members, including the President of the Senate, Ricardo de los Santos Polanco; the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco; Senator Bautista Rojas; Deputy Víctor Fadul; the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luis Henry Molina; Supreme Court Judge Nancy Salcedo Fernández (also serving as the Council’s secretary); and the Attorney General of the Republic, Miriam Germán Brito.
The Constitutional Court, consisting of thirteen members known as judges of the Constitutional Court, serves for a single nine-year term. The recent inauguration of judges Eunisis Vásquez Acosta, María del Carmen Santana de Cabrera, José Alejandro Vargas, and Manuel Ulises Bonelly Vega further solidifies the court’s composition. This new leadership is poised to guide the Constitutional Court in upholding and interpreting the nation’s constitution in the coming years.