BUENOS AIRES Argentina's Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a key part of a judicial reform law championed by President Cristina Fernandez that would have mandated the election of members of the board that chooses federal judges.
The reform - which Fernandez said was needed to "democratize the judiciary" - passed Congress last month and has been a lightning rod for criticism of the president as talk swirls of a possible bid by her supporters to seek a constitutional change to allow her to seek a third term.
She was re-elected in 2011 on promises of increasing the role of government in Latin America's third biggest economy.
Critics said the judicial reform would leave judges vulnerable to political influence. Six of the Supreme Court's seven judges agreed to strike the provision on grounds that it was unconstitutional.
Justice Minister Julio Alak said he would respect the court's decision.
"The process of democratization takes time," he told local television.
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Peter Cooney)