Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Puerto Vallarta - Mexican Jurist

The Mexico Summer Law program I'm leading for a few weeks moves to the Jalisco port city of Puerto Vallarta, where our students will take a course on "Mexican Legal Institutions" from one of Mexico's leading law professors and jurists, Dr. Manuel Gonzalez-Oropeza (professor at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Justice on the Federal Electoral Court).

Puerto Vallarta is an appropriate site for the course - besides being a beautiful location on the sea, it is named for a preeminent Mexican jurist, Ignatio L. Vallarta, who served as president of Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice from 1878-1883. As quoted from the online abstract from the University of Texas TARO Ignatio L. Vallarta papers, "Vallarta held more power than ever as president of the court because the Constitution gave him executive power in the absence of the nation’s president, which equated the position to the vice-president of the Republic. He presided over the Supreme Court for five years as a strong constitutionalist and became famous for his votos as he worked to interpret strictly the Constitution of 1857. His book Votos de Vallarta recounts the decision-making process during his jurisdiction as he emphasized the points of constitutional rights in the cases brought before him."

Vallarta remains highly respected among modern-day Mexican professors and constitutionalists - he is one of only a couple or several Mexican jurists from whose opinions they will quote (another is the wunderkind Mariano Otero, who died at age 33 around 1850).