Feijóo maintains Casado's blockade in the Judicial Power and extends it to the Constitutional

The refusal of the Popular Party of Alberto Núñez Feijóo to negotiate the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary, with the mandate expired for three and a half years, threatens to extend to the Constitutional Court and thus maintain a conservative majority in both bodies for much longer than provided for by the Basic Law itself. This June 12, the mandate of four magistrates of the court of guarantees has expired, whose complete renewal depends on the launch of a new CGPJ, blocked by a PP that designed it during the absolute majority of Mariano Rajoy.

In the coming days, the Government has to decide if you activate on your own the substitution of the two candidates that correspond to him, without waiting for the two that have to be designated by the body chaired by Carlos Lesmes in office and whose capacity for appointments is limited by law. At stake, among other things, is a conservative majority or a progressive majority at a delicate moment with such as abortion and euthanasia on the waiting list for sentences of enormous public projection.

Feijóo's PP has added electoralism to the list of excuses to block the CGPJ that the party wields unexpectedly since Pablo Casado assumed his leadership in 2018. The Galician leader has promised on different occasions that the organization he now chairs will have a strong institutional profile, has insisted that they are a "state party", and has even boasted that Manuel Fraga's Popular Alliance, of which they are Heirs was born "to write and enforce the Constitution", despite the historical evidence that indicates that part of the PP germ rejected the constitutional agreement of 1978, and voted against it or abstained. And despite the fact that since 2018 they have chosen not to fully account for the renewal of the bodies advocated by the Fundamental Law.

The consequences go far beyond the governing body of the judges, and will become visible in the coming days. The blockade led to a legal reform, proposed by PSOE and United We Can and approved by a majority of Congress with the vote against PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, which prevents an acting CGPJ from appointing senior judicial positions, and that includes two magistrates in the Constitutional Court every nine years.

Two magistrates of the Constitutional Court who, according to the law of the court of guarantees, are renewed jointly with the other two who depend exclusively on the central government. These two magistrates cannot be appointed until the CGPJ is renewed, something that for now seems out of Feijóo's plans.

In fact, the PP plan, at least until after the Andalusian elections on June 19, can take the renewal of the Judiciary until the fall. The procedure for the Congress and the Senate to make their appointments is not immediate, since it includes appearances by the candidates before the respective parliamentary commissions, in addition to the convening of a plenary session in each of the chambers. July and August are not usually business months.

And the future of the other two that are part of the same pack is not even clear, because in the Constitutional Court some interpret that it cannot be done separately, while others recognize that there is no clear background on which to base it.

This blockade, which is perpetuated by a conservative majority in the CGPJ, can translate, firstly, into a direct institutional confrontation between the central Executive and the Constitutional Court itself. If the Government chose to start the renewal of the two magistrates who depend on it, without waiting for the CGPJ, it would be the current Constitutional Court that completes some steps so that it becomes effective.

The Law leaves it up to the president to request the Government to propose the appointment of new magistrates before their mandates expire. It must also be the plenary session of the body that verifies the appointments "to judge whether they meet the requirements of the Constitution." That is to say, there is the possibility that the Government proposes two candidates and the Constitutional, where several understand that the law is very clear when specifying that the magistrates must be renewed four by four, object.

The conflict that can arise does not stop at a possible clash of criteria between the Government and the Constitutional Court. The blockade of the CGPJ, extendable to a faction of the Constitutional, can make it easier for the PP to extend the conservative majority established with Rajoy in Moncloa far beyond what is also established by Law.

In the case of the General Council of the Judiciary, three and a half years after the end of the mandate, the plenary continues to have a large conservative majority that has made dozens of appointments in provincial courts, superior courts and the Supreme Court, tipping the balance of the pacts in favor of a majority of candidates of that sensitivity. Something that extends to non-binding reports on laws of great importance in the previous two legislatures. This proportion, as stated in the Law, should have been reversed in December 2018.

If the CGPJ with an expired mandate cannot make appointments, it cannot renew two magistrates of the Constitutional Court either, and this results in the conservative majority inherited from the PP governments being perpetuated far beyond what corresponds to it. At this time, and after the last renewal of four candidates arising from the agreement between PSOE and PP in October 2021, the full court of guarantees has seven members considered from the conservative sector and five from the progressive.

The possible blockade has a specific consequence: the conservative majority promoted at the time by the PP remains. If the central executive renews its part without waiting for the Council, two conservative magistrates (President Pedro González-Trevijano and Antonio Narváez) would be replaced by two progressives and that would invert the balance of the court. This new majority seems to be at the bottom of Casado's reluctance, first, and Feijóo, now, to access the renewal.

This balance of forces in the Constitutional Court, which depends on the movements of the Government, PP and the court itself, comes at a time when the magistrates have several matters of enormous social significance on the table. The most immediate and most awaited is the sentence on the resources of the Popular Party against the Abortion Law, which have been in the drawer for more than a decade. The intention of the new speaker, Enrique Arnaldo, is to have a proposal for a paper on the plenary table for these dates.

The first question is what will be the content of that presentation and if it will have enough support to move forward, but also which plenary session of the Constitutional Court will be the one to debate the matter. Whether the current plenary session with a conservative majority or a plenary session renewed in due time and form with a progressive majority. The same happens with matters such as the conviction of Alberto Rodríguez, the Euthanasia Law, the Children's Law and other regulations that are not yet on the agenda but whose appeals have already been admitted for processing.

The blockade of the PP that perpetuates a conservative majority in the General Council of the Judiciary, therefore, can do the same thing in the short term in the Constitutional Court. Also taking into account another legal consequence: each day that a magistrate remains in the Constitutional Court with an expired mandate is one day less than the new magistrate will have a mandate. Prolonging, therefore, the mandate of a conservative magistrate shortens that of the progressive one who will replace him.

Source link