Thursday, October 6

CGPJ, Natural law and masquerade

In a recent interview in The reason, the member of the General Council of the Judiciary Mr. José María Macías Castaño – who is, according to the aforementioned newspaper, the “pillar” of the conservative bloc of such body – undaunted that “doing the right thing is not a symptom of rebellion, but of responsibility”. It happens, however, that in this case “the appropriate thing” is, as he himself acknowledges, to skip the law, specifically Organic Law 8/2022, which Parliament recently approved. That to him, as a citizen and therefore in a personal capacity, this rule seems irresponsible is perfectly legitimate. But that, in his capacity as a magistrate, he publicly affirms that the laws that seem “inappropriate” to one should not be followed is reckless enough to border on incapacitating. And the fact that he does it, already installed at the height of nonsense, from one of the twenty armchairs that constitute the Government of the judges reflects the point of institutional deterioration that we have reached. What is happening?

Time and time again, Mr. Macías justifies his disobedience for the sake of “judicial independence,” which is doubly sarcastic. On the one hand, and from a theoretical point of view, what is judicial independence if not the certainty that judges are, as the Constitution establishes, “subject only to the rule of law”? Suddenly converted to the absolutist, pre-modern and deeply illiberal doctrine of Natural Law, some seem to assume that they have a direct link with “The Truth”, with capital letters (with “The Adequacy”, rather, which would become its twin sister). , in such a way that they are above the current law, the democratically elected Parliament, Popular Sovereignty and other minutiae of similar importance. Why elections, representation and alternation when we already know how to distinguish “what is appropriate” from what is not? It took centuries – and a lot of blood – to overcome this conception of Law, and it surprises and scares in equal measure to find it in nothing less than the heart of the Government of the judges.

But it is from the practical side that the greatest cynicism comes. Of the 5,408 judges in Spain, the only ones who – even out of a basic sense of modesty – should never speak of “judicial independence” with respect to political power are the 12 magistrates who sit among the 20 members of the Council, because each and every one of those 12 magistrates knows for sure which specific party has placed them there. Thousands of judges “from below” can speak of judicial independence, those on the street. Men and women (especially women: they are already 56%) who have approved a very tough opposition and who, yes, they limit themselves to applying the law and they do it, as it should be, with a blindfold that prevents favoritism and compromises. Independents are Judge Castro accusing the Infanta or Judge Alaya doing the same with Griñán and Chaves, but… Macías and the other 11 judges elected to the Council for the different parties are they going to guarantee judicial independence? Hey, please. A respect for common sense. What they guarantee is precisely the opposite.

The perception that Spanish citizens have of “judicial independence” is one of the lowest in Europe. It is not a perception that is generated due to the activity of the judges “from below”, to those with whom the standing citizens deal in their case. Quite the contrary, it has its origin in the evident and blatant politicization of the leadership of the judiciary: the CGPJ, the Supreme Court and the Superior Courts of Justice. It is in “the judicial heights” where the citizens see that the thing is rotten with partisanship. And he sees it because he simply is.

This whole episode of the CGPJ – incomprehensible, moreover, for the average citizen – is explained solely and exclusively because its 20 members are politicized to the core. Mr. Macías, of course, flatly denies this point and affirms that “there is no transmission belt from the parties.” But it is false, there is. The first big decision that the 20 members had to make, in their first meeting, was to elect their president. It was in 2013 and they chose Carlos Lesmes. But, as everyone knows and the press published with absolute normality, they were not the ones who did it: it was Rajoy and Rubalcaba. It happens that the PP and the PSOE usually communicate to the public the candidate that the 20 members will choose before that they meet, deliberate and vote. If that were not enough proof of the existence of that belt, the wasap of Cosidó, senator of the PP, congratulating his party colleagues because “we will control the Second Chamber from behind” should banish any doubt about it. And finally take a look at CV of Alvaro Cuestaelected to the CGPJ by the PSOE… does anyone really believe that this man is not politicized?

What is happening is a brutal shame supervening on an initial shame. The initial embarrassment is the procedure for electing the Council, which places it at the feet of the parties, and with it the entire judicial leadership. The sudden and brutal shame is what the PP is doing, which has been blocking the renewal for four years. The main opposition party openly flouts the law. It does not do it for “judicial independence”, on the contrary: it does it because in the current Council it has a majority and therefore control. That is, it does so through the most stark “judicial dependency” that can be conceived. The institution is being taken ahead, just as Cristina Cifuentes took the Rey Juan Carlos University ahead. She doesn’t care. Pablo Casado reached a renewal agreement, Feijoo prefers the blockade. Without even touching power, the current PP has managed to further rot an already shameful situation, as we are constantly reminded from Europe. With moderate So who needs radicals?

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