Monday, June 24, 2019

Professor Fiss Meets with Argentine President, Recalling 1985 Visit

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen M. Fiss recently met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the presidential residence in Buenos Aires. The meeting was reported in the Argentine press, including a commentary in La Nación by journalist Jorge Fernández Díaz.

READ: A commentary on the meeting of Fiss and Macri (Spanish)

Paola Bergallo, a professor of law at Torcuato di Tella University in Buenos Aires and Gruber Research Fellow at Yale Law School, coordinated the meeting. According to Bergallo, Macri invited Fiss to the presidential residence to commemorate Fiss's first visit to Argentina in 1985 at the invitation of Carlos Nino, the jurist President Raúl Alfonsín put in charge of his commission on democratic reforms. Nino brought Fiss, the late former Yale Law School Professor Ronald Dworkin, and philosophers Thomas Nagel and T.M. Scanlon to Argentina to meet Alfonsín and observe the trials of the leaders of the military junta for crimes committed during the dictatorship.

In his commentary, Díaz reflects upon the upcoming elections in Argentina and recalls the election of 1983, when constitutional rule returned to the country. He calls Fiss the “adoptive father” of the “Nino boys,” the legal scholars and practitioners associated with Nino.

As reported by Díaz, Fiss and Macri spoke of the growing crisis generated by the gradual erosion of democratic institutions by elected leaders seeking to consolidate their grip on power. Díaz sees a parallel between the choice that Argentines faced in 1983, when they elected Alfonsín on a human rights platform, and the current presidential campaign, in which Macri's liberal economic policy have put the country on course for economic recovery but remain unpopular.