Tuesday, July 27

A judicial union

Alarm or exception? Depends. The answer goes by neighborhoods. Or by courts. Or for acronyms. Or by means of communication. Whether or not you have legal knowledge to defend one or another option, line up where you like. It’s free. They do not need nuances. Nor be informed of what the organic laws say. You already know that this is the Spain of black or white and in which gray does not appear in the palette due to lack of use.

It is convenient, of course, that they know that the Supreme Court has endorsed twice and before two individual appeals the declaration of a state of alarm, and not an exception, as a legal instrument to decree home confinement during the pandemic. That the Constitutional Court has just said otherwise. That the decision was made by the Government. That it was supported, in addition to previously requested, by Vox, which is the party that later appealed it to the highest guarantor of the Magna Carta. And that the PP, which also supported her initially, then asked for her withdrawal, but never appealed it.

All this turns the debate not into a legal disquisition, but into one more chapter of a trench warfare, in which the Constitutional Court has already chosen a side. You know: either you are with Vox – and with the follow-up that Casado does about him – or you are with the Government. Either you are with the state of alarm and, apparently, against democracy and fundamental rights or you are with the law, order and a state of exception. It will be difficult to overcome this spiral of delirium to which even the judges have succumbed. The day the pandemic stopped being a public health issue to become a matter with which to settle accounts with the Government, politics and justice became a nauseating spectacle.

The incoherence of those of Abascal now leads them to celebrate the Constitutional ruling because their party – they say – was against confinement, a measure that the court does not question, although the suitability of the legal instrument by which it was decreed does. And he has said it, not 15 days or a month after the alarm was decreed, but a year and a half later, which already says enough of the seriousness of the court and the relaxation with which the magistrates face their work.

The fact is that the pandemic, which turned our lives upside down and claimed more than 75,000 deaths in a year and a half, has also drawn unprecedented and contradictory scenarios in the legal sphere, after the Government, in March 2020, declared the state alarm for confine the population. It did so because Organic Law 4/1981 maintains that it is the appropriate legal umbrella for a situation of health crisis such as an epidemic. The problem is in the fine print because apparently the constitutional Court understands that Sánchez’s cabinet suspended – did not limit – fundamental rights, which it could only suspend with a state of exception.

The political and media right have celebrated the decision and assumed that of the Constitutional right, even before hearing the sentence, ergo it is understood that they had supported in Congress the declaration of the state of exception, which is not decreed by the Executive but by Parliament and that It allows suspending several fundamental rights such as the inviolability of the home (that one can enter homes without judicial authorization), freedom and security, free movement, freedom of the press and expression or the right to assembly.

What would they have said if Sánchez had chosen the declaration of a state of exception? If with the alarm decree it was already a president who had made Spain a “constitutional dictatorship”, with one declaring a state of exception, they would have accused him of a crime against humanity.

Does anyone understand that to confine citizens at home the alarm is not enough and to decree now curfews in different Autonomies it is not even necessary that same umbrella? A great paradox that the Constitutional Court will have to explain and those who, without a state of alarm, after this ruling, will again decree night restrictions this summer.

What is relevant in the ruling is not whether the Government loses or wins, not even if Vox scores a point against Casado, but what successive governments should do in the face of future pandemics and, above all, if the Constitutional Court has taken into account or not that the constituents did think in 1978 of a pandemic when they wrote the article of the Magna Carta that includes the state of alarm, as recorded in the verbatim records of the Congress of Deputies and in the intervention that they collect from the UCD rapporteur and later deputy of the PP, Gabriel Cisneros. Do not forget either that four of the 12 Constitutional magistrates have expired terms and that the PP, as in the CGPJ, imposes its blocking minority in Congress to prevent their replacement.

Justice, like politics, is a union. And then they will be surprised that citizens are suspicious!


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