Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador lobbied criticism at the country’s Supreme Court for the alleged “shamelessness” of the judiciary as the Court throws away parts of Obrador’s “jail, no bail” program targeting white-collar criminals on Thursday. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday voted against a new program by Obrador that obligated mandatory detention and imprisonment for people charged with fraud, tax evasion, and smuggling, claiming that it amounted to “punishment before conviction” due to the length of time a trial takes in Mexico, according to the Associated Press

Obrador imposed a mandatory pre-trial detention to a long list of crimes in 2019, claiming to be fighting against white-collar crime with the new program. Before then, judges were allowed to release suspects under certain conditions, like wearing a monitor or agreeing not to travel, ABC News reported.

With this ruling, the Court has instead mandated that prosecutors would need to convince judges that those accused or charged should not be released. The other crimes listed will be evaluated by the Court in a later session to see if pre-trial release would also be justified for these crimes. 

Obrador has been open about his disdain for the Mexican court system, claiming that lower court judges would release suspects over procedural or technical points that were made by underpaid and overworked prosecutors in the country.

He has also singled out individual judges who have blocked some of Obrador’s initiatives as President, which observers say was done because of the policy’s contradictions with the Constitution or with international treaties. 

Before the ruling was released on Thursday, Obrador had already railed against the Supreme Court judges for what he expected was a vote against his policy, claiming that the court system was “defending white collar criminals” over the people. 

“They free them because the prosecution case was poorly written, or for any other excuse, any other pretext,” he said, “because they have become very, very, very fixated on the fine points of the law.”

He also criticized the Court for potentially deciding towards not using government money and resources to mount Christmas-season Nativity scenes in the country, which is believed to be in violation of the separation of church and state.

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador delivers a speech during a military parade to commemorate Mexico's 212st anniversary of independence, at the Zocalo square in Mexico City, on September 16, 2022. Photo by Rodrigo Arangua/AFP via Getty Images