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  • Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro have decried the National Assembly attacks against the Supreme Court as illegal.

    Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro have decried the National Assembly attacks against the Supreme Court as illegal. | Photo: EFE

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly is pushing to remove Supreme Court judges despite being in contempt of the constitution.

Venezuelan lawmaker Diosdado Cabello said Tuesday that the National Assembly lacks the “moral authority” to suspend the country’s Supreme Court judges, and would be acting illegally if it attempts the move.

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According to Cabello, the Venezuelan Parliament is in an “illegal state,” given it has failed to remove three lawmakers whose elections were overturned due to vote-buying allegations.

The push to suspend the judges comes after the Supreme Court ruled that the judiciary could assume some of the powers of Parliament until it removed the unauthorized officials. The ruling was later reversed, but the opposition-led National Assembly has used the decision to call for the judges’ suspension.

Article 265 of the Venezuelan Constitution stipulates that Supreme Court judges can be removed by the National Assembly if a two-thirds majority accepts the measure.

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However, given Parliament is in contempt of the constitution, it does not have “any legal qualification” to do so, said Cabello.

In Jan. 2016, the Supreme Court ordered the National Assembly to remove the unauthorized legislators but the legislative body refused. This led the top court to declare all decisions made by Parliament be made “null.” This past January, the body agreed to remove the legislators, but refused to follow proper procedure to do so.

As the opposition symbolically targets the Supreme Court judges, the Organization of American States has threatened to suspend Venezuela from the organization.

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