Lawmakers declined to reappoint a Sala IV magistrate to a second eight-year term Thursday. There was no clear reason given by the lawmakers who voted this way.
The magistrate, Fernando Cruz Castro, has sought to be reappointed.
The opposition was a bloc of Partido Liberación Nacional and other parties in the legislature. These included Movimiento Libertario and some lawmakers from the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.
Proponents of the magistrate called the vote a blow to democracy, and another likened the action to a coup. Cruz has a reputation of being an independent thinker on the court.
A supporter said that the period in which the legislature has to take the vote has passed and that the magistrate was automatically re-elected. That concept might be part of a Sala IV petition.