Thursday, July 29

Rotten smell in the Constitutional Court

The thesis of the need for a state of emergency instead of a state of alarm to face the health emergency generated by the outbreak of COVID-19 was put into circulation very soon. On April 14, 2020 I already reported it in this same space. Since then, work has been carried out, sometimes openly, others surreptitiously, in favor of this thesis, which in the end has ended up being endorsed by the Constitutional Court (TC) in the sentence released last week, although not yet. is known in its literality.

The initiative would translate into an unconstitutionality appeal filed by VOX against the Decree declaring the first state of alarm. It did not seem at first that this initiative would have a long way to go. Fernando Valdés was the magistrate who was assigned the drafting of the draft sentence and the conclusion he reached was unequivocally pronounced on the constitutionality of the appeal to the state of alarm to face the pandemic. It even seemed that it was a case that could be resolved by a clear majority, which could even reach unanimity in the TC.

But Fernando Valdés was disqualified from continuing to serve as a constitutional magistrate for an act of violence against his wife, for which he is being judicially investigated, although he has not yet reached the oral trial phase and no sentence has been handed down. After learning of said conduct, it was evident that Fernando Valdés had to stop being a constitutional magistrate, regardless of what the sentence that was handed down in this matter may say at the time.

Judge Pedro González-Trevijano would replace him as rapporteur in the drafting of the draft judgment. With this replacement, the impulse to the thesis of the state of exception versus the state of alarm would take on new life.

It is not surprising. Pedro González-Trevijano was rector of the Rey Juan Carlos University, of which he was and continues to be a professor of Constitutional Law. He was a Rector with an unclear trajectory. He became involved in a possible bribery case. But he was known, above all, for being the rector who covered the irregularities of the also professor of Constitutional Law, Enrique Álvarez Conde, for the benefit of very important leaders of the PP at said University, among which Cristina Cifuentes stood out. The system of academic mamandurrias, to use the expression of Esperanza Aguirre, in favor of leaders of the PP was, without a doubt, the reason why the PP proposed him to be magistrate of the TC. His partisan bias as rector was the best guarantee of what would be his performance as a constitutional magistrate.

And in this area the PP is never wrong. Since he became rapporteur for the ruling on the unconstitutionality appeal on the state of alarm, Pedro González-Trevijano has been working surreptitiously to articulate a majority that has thrown itself on the spoils of Fernando Valdés’s speech as a scavenger bird, legitimizing with it the political discourse of VOX and PP.

The sentence is another step in the task of agitation against the Government by constitutional bodies, which lack direct democratic legitimacy and whose renewal is impossible when the PP is in the opposition. Even though it is serious, the sentence is not the worst. The worst thing is that it is an indicator of what the execution of the TC will be in the remainder of the legislature. No one can be deceived. The rotten smell that emanates from this sentence, because it comes from where it comes, is going to spread throughout the political system, generating a climate that is difficult to breathe.

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