Former Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt passed away yesterday at the age of 98. Fayt had left the post he had held for thirty two years on December 11, 2015, a day after former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner stepped out of office. He had reached the highest court in the country after seeing the return of democracy in 1983, appointed by then incumbent President Raúl Alfonsín.
Jorge Rizzo, who was Fayt’s lawyer, tweeted shortly before midnight yesterday that his daughter, Graciela, confirmed the news.
El país llora.
Falleció el Dr. Carlos Santiago Fayt, me lo confirmó su hija Graciela recién.
Gracias por todo.
— JorgeRizzo GdD #La47 (@DrJorgeRizzo) November 23, 2016
The country weeps. Dr. Carlos Santiago Fayt passed away, her daughter Graciela just confirmed the news. Cheers, professor. Thank you for everything.
Even though the current members of the Supreme Court offered the use of Palace of Justice for public state funeral, Rizzo told Infobae that the family refused and that “his remains will be taken to his family vault in the Recoleta Cemetery at 2 PM.” and that the ceremony will only include “a few people, but surely there will be a lot more joining us.”
Fayt resigned to his post on December 11, 2015, after 32 years in the Supreme Court and a lifetime in the judiciary. The date wasn’t random. He spent the last years of his tenure under strong pressure from the Cristina Kirchner administration to resign.
Among his notable decisions and contributions to the court, Fayt made headlines most recently for his somewhat antagonistic relationship with former President Cristina Kirchner. He stayed in office long enough to see her leave office, though the official argument was that he had to resign due to his advanced age since, according to the Constitution’s 1994 amendment, judges must step down once they turn 75 years old. However, Fayt managed to retain his seat by claiming that since he had already been in office when the amendment came into effect, it didn’t apply to him.
The (then) government’s insistence that he go may also have had something to do with the fact that, according to research carried out by Chequeado, Fayt ruled against the Kirchner administration 80 percent of the time in cases involving the government.
Throughout 2015, the government raised doubts over the Justice’s mental health and launched a crusade to get him to take an exam to see if he was still capable to do his job. This didn’t happen in the end, but in September Fayt announced he would step down on December 11, a day after Fernández would leave the Casa Rosada. He remained away from the spotlight until his passing.
In a brief release, the current members of the Supreme Court expressed their “deep sadness” about the former Justice’s passing.
Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti spoke publicly as well and said he has an “inconceivable pain” for “his friend’s passing” and remembered how he relied on him during the past years. “He always advised me on all the decisions I had to make because he had a lot of experience and was always very clear-headed,” said Lorenzetti.
Government officials also paid their respects on twitter.
— Mauricio Macri (@mauriciomacri) November 23, 2016
President Mauricio Macri: “Respect and gratefulness for Carlos Fayt.”
La historia arg tiene una página especial para Carlos Fayt. Un gran hombre de la República. Mis respetos a él y mis condolencias a su flia
— Gabriela Michetti (@gabimichetti) November 23, 2016
Vice-President Gabriela Michetti: “History has a special page for Carlos Fayt. A great man of the Republic. My respects to him and his family.”
Acompaño a la familia del Dr Carlos Fayt en este momento. Su servicio a nuestra Nación siempre será recordado.
— Esteban Bullrich (@estebanbullrich) November 23, 2016
Education Minister Esteban Bullrich: “My respects to Dr. Carlos Fayt in this moment. His service to our country will always be remembered.”
Mis condolencias a los familiares del ex juez de la Corte Suprema de Justicia Carlos Fayt.
— Rogelio Frigerio (@frigeriorogelio) November 23, 2016
Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio: “My condolences to former Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt’s family.”