For many on the left the ruling against Ulises will seem more symbolic than real, considering the scarce possibilities that this will lead to criminal charges that turn into a setence: the three jurisdictions that could "process" the case have obvious political impediments to doing so.
On one side is the Oaxaca congress, with a PRI majority, and the state's attorney general's office, obviously linked to the governor. Certainly, the Senate could carry out political judgment against the governor, if only the PRI weren't cornerstone of the federal Congress. The third way, PGR intervention, is also unlikely given the responsibility of this institution in the events themselves. If it already saved itself from being signaled by the justices, it will be the most interested in letting the issue pass.
The decision of the Court, then, has few consequences, except for the Court itself. Without "overstepping" with a possible sentence against an ex-President, it has sent a message the citizens that the governors don't escape their judgment. A way of recovering from the ruling about Puebla, two years ago, without running any risk.
Those are all good points. Nonetheless, today's ruling is still a step in the right direction; passing judgment, albeit timidly, on a governor was still a bridge too far in late 2007, as the editorial mentions. Here's what the same editorial page had to say in the wake of the Lydia Cacho ruling, which implausibly found that the Puebla governor hadn't violated Cacho's civil rights:
The justices thought more of technicalities and legalistic arguments to get through the episode and ignore the gravity of the complaints involved: first in the case of the sexually abused and then in the excesses in the search for justice personally conducted by the governor of Puebla, Mario Marín.We find ourselves before a new challenge for the judicial branch, which has gone backwards in society's longing for a delivery of justice independent of the interests of the powerful. We must do something to revert this series of decisions.
Without denying the shortcomings of today's decision, it does not lead us to such a dire conclusion.