The Popular Party remains rooted in the blockade of the renewal of key bodies such as the Constitutional Court, which has been waiting since November 2019 for the replacement of four of its members. This interim court, heeled to the right – the current correlation of forces is seven to four in favor of the judges of the conservative sector – has before it the resolution of matters of great legal significance such as the extension of the state of alarm, the new law educational or euthanasia. And it also intends to reactivate this fall the debate on other especially sensitive issues that have been in a drawer for years, such as the reviewable permanent prison or abortion, which the court is considering addressing due to pressure from former PP deputies and the ultra-Catholic Christian Lawyers entity.
The Constitutional Court overturns the confinement of the first state of alarm at the request of Vox
The components of the court of guarantees that have expired their mandate are those that were appointed in 2012 by Congress, where their election requires a reinforced majority of three-fifths: 210 of the 350 deputies. The sum of the votes of Pablo Casado’s party and the extreme right of Vox would allow vetoing any hypothetical agreement reached by the rest of the parties of the parliamentary arch. Both formations add 141 seats, enough to constitute a blocking minority.
The outgoing members are the president, Juan José González Rivas; the vice president, Encarnación Roca; and Judge Andrés Ollero. The position left in October 2020 by Fernando Valdés, also elected by Congress, is also vacant after being prosecuted for mistreatment. González Rivas and Ollero are framed in the conservative sector and Roca y Valdés in the progressive, although some recent rulings such as the one that declared the first state of alarm of the pandemic illegal have blown up the traditional bloc dynamics.
The mandate of the Constitutional magistrates is nine years and, according to the law, the court should be renewed by thirds every three years, although it is a term that is not always met. The next to see their mandate expire, in the summer of 2022, will be the magistrates appointed by the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) – the conservative Santiago Martínez-Vares and the progressive Juan Antonio Xiol Ríos – and those who in his day appointed the Government of Mariano Rajoy: Pedro José González-Trevijano and Antonio Narváez, both within the conservative sector. It remains to be seen whether on that date the CGPJ, whose renewal is also blocking the PP, has already been renewed and can make new appointments. The one who will surely not give up doing them will be the Government.
Extension of the alarm
Thus, except for a change in strategy in the PP, it will be a partially interim court that will address, in the coming months, matters of great legal significance and political repercussions, some presented precisely by the popular ones. The resolution of the appeal against the state of alarm that was in effect until last May is scheduled for after the summer. The forecast is that the rapporteur, Antonio Narváez, will take his draft sentence to the September plenary session, which must determine whether the six-month extension approved by Congress is constitutional. In the resolution Regarding the state of alarm that decreed the confinement of the population, the court has already warned that this exception mechanism must be subject to “constant supervision and control”, which has been interpreted as a warning to sailors of what may come with the resolution of this second appeal, also raised by Vox.
Among the pending issues are also the appeals that PP and Vox presented against the new educational law, the so-called ‘Celáa law’, which both formations challenged on understanding that it does not guarantee that Spanish is the vehicular language throughout the country. The conservative magistrates Antonio Narváez, in charge of analyzing the appeal filed by the PP, will be speakers; and Ricardo Enríquez, who will assume the Vox appeal.
Encarnación Roca, supposedly aligned in the progressive bloc, will carry out the draft sentence of the appeal also presented by the far-right party against the euthanasia law, the norm that regulates the right to a dignified death for those who suffer “a serious and incurable disease.” or a “serious, chronic and disabling condition” that affects autonomy and that generates “constant and intolerable physical or mental suffering”. In its appeal, the formation of Santiago Abascal asks that the court of guarantees declare the “radical unconstitutionality” of the law for violating the right to life. The challenge was admitted for processing, although Vox failed in its attempt to suspend its entry into force. This rule has also been appealed by the PP, although the court has not yet ruled on the admission of its appeal.
Both parties have been waging a battle for months to see who can overthrow the most projects of the coalition government from the court of guarantees. This same week Vox boasted in a tweet of the twenty appeals that it has presented “against the liberticidal government” and “the autonomic taifa”, although some of them have not yet been admitted for processing. The ruling on the state of alarm was the first great victory of the extreme right before that body that has not failed for a long time in favor of PP resources against progressive policies, such as the parity of the electoral lists or the extension of the terms of the instructions judicial, or even in his judicial battle against the independence movement. He endorsed, for example, the candidacy of Carles Puigdemont to the European elections despite the resources of PP and Ciudadanos.
Abortion and reviewable permanent prison
The Constitutional Court also intends to reactivate the debate on issues that have been waiting for years in a drawer in the near future. After more than a decade, the court is considering deciding on the law that in 2010 made abortion a women’s right. This rule, which liberalized the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in the first 14 weeks of gestation, was appealed by 71 PP deputies in June 2010, considering that there was an “obvious irreparable damage” due to the “elimination of human lives.” The court admitted the appeal for processing on June 30 of that year. And it even agreed to give “priority” to its processing and resolution, but it has been frozen for eleven years.
Until now, the Constitutional Court considered that this resource was “expired”, since the PP had the opportunity to change the law during the four years that it governed with an absolute majority between 2011 and 2015 and did not do so. However, two movements of a part of the most ultra-conservative sector of the right have led the court to now plan the approach to that deliberation, as advanced The country. These movements are, on the one hand, the complaint for the “unjustified delay in passing sentence” that a score of former PP deputies who once presented the appeal have made before the European Court of Human Rights; and, on the other, the complaint that the ultraconservative association Christian Lawyers has presented in the Supreme Court against the speaker Andrés Ollero, whom they accuse “of a possible crime of trespass in its malicious delay mode. ”
The underlying problem for which this appeal has not been debated focuses precisely on blocking the renewal of the court, according to elDiario.es. The legal sources consulted defend that Ollero – with a mandate expired since 2019 – generates a problem of conscience to face a dismissal presentation. For this reason, the decision has been delayed with the aim of assuming the appeal with a new rapporteur, given the possibility that there would be an agreement to replace the judges with a mandate that has already expired. However, Ollero assured The country that he has “prepared the necessary works” to bring the presentation on the abortion law to the plenary session as soon as necessary.
Another of the issues that the court intends to reactivate in the autumn is that of the reviewable permanent prison, a kind of life sentence implanted during the mandate of Mariano Rajoy for very specific crimes, as advanced infoFree. In force since 2015, it was appealed in its day by the entire opposition, including the parties that are now in government: PSOE and United We Can. In 2018, when they were still ruling alone, the Socialists resigned from repealing this norm until there was a pronouncement from the Constitutional Court despite the fact that in the electoral program with which they attended the 2016 generals they had promised to end it “in a way immediate “. This proposal was no longer included among the electoral promises of the PSOE in the 2019 elections. Nor is it in the coalition government agreement that PSOE and United We can signed in December of that year.
This is another resource that has undergone a change in speaker. At first, the proposal to write the draft judgment fell on Judge Fernando Valdés. But after his resignation in October 2020 after being processed for mistreatment, the presentation was entrusted to Encarnación Roca, precisely another of the magistrates whose mandate has expired for more than a year and a half.